Friday, September 18, 2015

The Messenger Review

Friday, September 18, 2015

Director: David Blair
Cast: Robert Sheehan, Lily Cole, Tamzin Merchant
Running Time: 101 minutes
Certificate: 15

Jack (Robert Sheehan) is a lost soul, tarnished by a deep depression, he is an alcoholic isolating himself from society and pushing family away - the only people he begrugedley lets in are dead people who seek him out to communicate with their loved ones which they have left behind. He discovered his gift as a child and despite wanting nothing but being left alone by the ghosts and wanting the voices to stop he finds himself desperate to create connections with someone and sees them as his only companions.

While some of his experiences are mentioned as it emerges that Jack is a well known charater in the town and has an affinity to crashing funerals and sensitive moments to pass on a message (but instead gets passed off as an insane intruder) there is one particular passing which is followed closely. It is war correspondant Mark (Jack Fox) who gets murdered outside his flat, while his fiance Sarah (Tamzin Merchant) is waiting for him. Mark is now desperate to leave Sarah with a final message and has to convince Jack to help him.

The most interesthing angle which THE MESSENGER takes is the torment of Jack, and his desperation in helping. All he wants is to help and to feel appreciated. His selfishness is nonexistant and his methods of delivering messages drives him into getting in trouble with the law and being seen as insane by the living around him.  A discussion around mental health arises as Jack is seen as depressed due to a rough childhood mothered by an alcoholic who sectioned him at a young age while that is a parallel to the story, the audience, Jack and the dead people are united in their conviction of his sixth sense.

Sadly the film has an incredibly slow start, where Jack comes across as incredibly annoying and the confusion created by the initial 30 minutes is barely saved by incredibly intense and convincing performances by seasoned bBritish actors an interesting examination of mental health and a brief yet raiting murder mystery. Appearances by David O'Hara and Joely Richardon are small almost reducing them to cameos and are not fully taken adantage of to complete the narrative. These blunders along with a baby faced Lily Cole playing not only the older sister but also the mother of a 10 year old boy, and a lack of a well tied together inestigation leaves the audience hanging and torn between wanting more and too frustrated to engage with the film.  It is only towards the end in which the film gains momentum, and Sheehan settles into his role in which it becomes engaging and interesting.

Jack is not left alone, by neither the living nor the dead and the anguish gets so intense that whether his gift is real or whether he is suffering from schizofrenia becomes almost irrelevant but it is powerful to watch and the balance between drama, horror and thriller is brilliantly executed. THE MESSENGER is surprisningly funny,worth seeing and stands out as a good contribution to British cinema this year.

THE MESSENGER is out in the UK on the 18th September.

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