11th Nov2015

‘The Messenger’ DVD Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Robert Sheehan, Joely Richardson, Tamzin Merchant, David O’Hara, Lily Cole, Deirdre O’Kane, Andrew Tiernan, Alex Wyndham, Jack Fox, Brian Woodward | Written by Andrew Kirk | Directed by David Blair

the-messenger-dvd

The Messenger is the story of Jack’s last melt down: a story of frustration and guilt, love and betrayal, family and blame. When he becomes embroiled in the unfinished business of Mark, a journalist murdered in the local park who is desperate to communicate with his wife Sarah, Jack finds himself getting closer to Sarah, obsessed with passing on Mark’s message. Hidden secrets and lies finally push the fragile Jack over the edge, but hope appears in the person of his estranged sister, Emma. Jack starts to remember the past they shared together and as the memories come flooding back, he confronts the truth about the death of his father.

I’m not sure how I feel about The Messenger. The beginning starts strong (and rather gorily) and hints to a very interesting film. The groundwork is laid for some exciting developments – for example, the very interesting scenes where Jack seems to be talking to a god-like figure – but then the excitement seems to drop. We are left with just… Jack. Jack, haunted by ghosts who won’t leave him alone, is in quite a state. Drinking, angry, rejecting everyone – he’s not a very pleasant character, which is fine, but The Messenger continues to stress this point for a very… long… time.

The result, unsurprisingly, is that the pace of the film slows significantly. Robert Sheehan’s acting isn’t bad; he makes a convincing Jack. In fact, there’s not a weak performance in this film, but somehow I still found it incredibly hard to connect with The Messenger. At the heart of it, this film is more of an exploration of Jack and his mental stability, and doesn’t have that much of a paranormal vibe. The ‘ghosts’ are just people popping in occasionally to talk to Jack, and it is often suggested that they are a creation of his mind.

That’s pretty much The Messenger right there. The film rotates around that point (‘Is he making it all up?’) and doesn’t really stretch its wings. To make things worse, the promising scenes from the beginning unravel into something less interesting than I hoped for. The Messenger had a lot of potential, yet I couldn’t help but think a lot of it was lost when the plot went down the clichéd ‘is he, isn’t he insane’ route, and then never bothered to answer the question.

So, not the best.

** 2/5

The Messenger is out now on DVD from Metrodome.

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