Does Woody Harrelson, currently in theaters in the box-office-topping, crowd-and-critic-pleasing comedy Zombieland, get the credit he deserves for the range he shows on film? The Messenger looks like it will be a solid reminder. Harrelson and Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) star as men with the unenviable job of informing military families their loves ones have died. “I’ve never cried harder in another person’s arms than Woody Harrelson’s,” Foster said in EW’s Fall Movie Preview issue. The movie isn’t a war film, he insisted. “Saying ‘I’m sorry to inform you…’ is a universal exercise. We’re all going to keep getting that call, or making that call. It has nothing to do with war.”
True, but the image of a man in uniform outside a door is a powerful one that hits you in the stomach whether or not you’ve ever loved someone serving. And who hasn’t wondered what goes through that man’s mind as he makes that walk, knocks, then waits (watch Harrelson’s hands), what rules he sets for himself, and who tempts him to break them (Samantha Morton, in Foster’s case)?