“One more thing. You do not touch the Next-of-Kin. Avoid physical contact, unless it’s a medical emergency, like they’re having a heart attack or something. You’re representing the Secretary of the Army, not Will Montgomery, so in case you feel like offering a hug or something… don’t.” – Captain Tony Stone
Number of Times Seen – Twice (9 Jan 2010 and 5 Nov 2018)
Brief Synopsis – A soldier tasked with informing family members following a military death tries to deal with the complexities of his new job.
My Take on it – This is a film that I saw not long after it came out and wasn’t able to quite get into and felt at the time that it didn’t work quite well.
Upon rewatching it now, my opinion was changed completely on it because I was able to see that they were able to take a very simple seeming premise and show the complexities of it all without the need to try and soften things.
The overall premise is a great one and we get to see how different people react to similar situations and how the notification officers must constantly try and keep their cool throughout no matter what transpires.
Ben Foster is great in the lead role and shows how intense and actor he can be, but he is completely out-shown along the way by Woody Harrelson who gives a very powerful performance as his partner and mentor.
Harrelson was very deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role because it is done so well.
Unfortunately, this films premise is still relevant in the world and that makes the story even more powerful because it is timeless.
Bottom Line – Interesting idea that shows the hardships individuals must face when being required to notify loved ones of a soldier’s death during combat. Foster is great in the lead but Harrelson steals every scene he is in as his partner. He was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Oscars for this powerful role. The story itself is quite simple yet they manage to show the various complexities of it all. Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – During the boating and fishing scene, Tony (Woody Harrelson) yells out “Charlie don’t surf!” The line originated in Apocalypse Now (1979), set during the Vietnam War. It was spoken by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) during the film’s surfing scene. (From IMDB)
Rating –Globe Worthy (7/10)
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