The Messenger Has Arrived

By twhalliii | THE BACK ROW MANIFESTO by Tom Hall November 13, 2009 at 1:00AM

The Messenger Has Arrived
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In the interest of full disclosure, I need to get a few things out of the way; Oren Moverman’s The Messenger has been a very important film for me this past year. I am unable to assemble my thoughts about the film itself; I have no critical distance when it comes to this movie. Let me just say I think it is one of the finest movies of the year and an instant classic. I saw the movie at Sundance and fell in love with it. With a little help and some true generosity, we were able to showcase The Messenger as the Opening Night Film at the Sarasota Film Festival back in March. Coming to us right after a triumphant trip to the Berlin Film Festival, we worked with the team from the film to bring in several soldiers and veterans for the screening and party; everyone had a great time. During the festival’s opening weekend, I got to know Oren and the cast a little bit and I was as shocked by their kindness as I was by their talent. I am indebted to all of them for taking a chance on our idea and bringing the film to Sarasota so early in the process.

I have been waiting for this weekend for months now; the film is opening in NYC and DC and rolling out wide next week. All I can hope for in the coming weeks and months is that the film is as warmly received by the national audience as it was by our festival's. Not only will your support offer tremendous help to a very talented group of artists, but it will also signal an investment in the type of serious, American cinema that desperately needs a boost. My fingers are crossed for the good people at Oscilloscope and for my Messenger friends; here's to engaging hearts and minds.

The reviews have been excellent; Tony Scott in The NY Times, David Denby in The New Yorker, Peter Travers in Rolling Stone, and on and on. *

Don't trust them? Trust me; just go see it. Go. Go go go.

* A special mention for film critic movie-loathing-contrarian-for-the-sake-of-it Armond White, whose review, a complete misreading of the film that underlines his own condescension and deep insecurity, opens with the following sentence: "Despite the many things wrong with Brian De Palma’s Redacted, the acting was superbly on-point." Why read on from there? Say hello, wave goodbye. Seriously?!

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