The US military personnel in the 'Casualty Notification Units' are dedicated & trained professionals with stable personality. Stone & Montgomery are just the opposite. With regard to this these two characters are completely implausible. However, the movie perfectly visualises the pain, the fear & the wounded soul of humans somehow connected to the nightmare of war. Great acting performances.
This film somehow proves the fact that the script is not as important as the storytelling. The theme could be.. anything, it's the way of telling a story, the essence of film, that gives the impact more than anything else. In fact I believe that the thoughts and associations you have while watching is the soul of the film. And they might appear far from the actual plot.
As good as an American film will ever get at examining the home-front human toll of the two wars that have been ravaging for over a decade now. It's incredibly affecting and thought-provoking without being preachy or trying to convey a "message" about the war. It's simply about a bunch of people that have been broken by it in different ways. Enough to feel very very very empathetic.
Great idea for a film! Lots of scenes are not convincing, lots of lines are shallow talk. I didn't buy the relationship between the widow and the surgeon. In reality, army will call the segean to the Court Marshall. Should have been done with less worry for marketing. Not very honest.
A heartbreaking and beautifully performed anti-war film that's more effective than most of its ilk without ever stepping onto the battlefield -- and that's a feat. How this has fallen off the radar I have no idea. It's one of the finest character studies I've ever seen.
For the actors: Foster and Harrelson as members of the “Angels of Death Squadron” (i.e. Casualty Notification Officers who break the sad news to the families of the soldiers recently killed in action), and Samantha Morton as one of the widows Foster visits (and — surprise surprise — falls for).