The Messenger

This supernatural thriller directed by David Blair about a young man, Jack, who believes he is about to talk to dead people who use him as a messenger to convey messages to loved ones left behind is a superior film in its genre. The subject matter may not be the most wholly original but its execution and Robert Sheehan as Jack gives a convincing and mesmerising performance as a person tortured by his so-called gift that it actually functions as more of a curse.
Jack has led a troubled life and after his father’s suicide finds he is struggling to cope even within the family unit, and is eventually taken into care when he persists in telling his mother that his dead father is communicating with him. As an adult he lives an isolated existence and finds it difficult to sustain any substantial relationships. His older sister Emma (Lily Cole) who still feels guilty for not supporting him enough when he was troubled, suddenly re-enters his life and tries to make amends despite the protestations and clear disdain of her pompous lawyer husband, Martin(Alex Wyndham).
Their lives become entangled even more after a TV reporter is found dead in unexplained circumstances and asks Jack to contact his wife to pass on a message from him. The wife turns out to be a client of Martin’s and the circumstances of her husband’s death become even less clear to her by Jack’s intervention and the inevitable accusations and recriminations abound.
Sheehan gives a taut and haunted portrayal of the psychic who has no idea to deal with his communiqués with the dead. No-one around him ever believes him and as his isolation grows he becomes more and more withdrawn from human contact although there is a moment of rare empathy from an extremely unexpected source, his nephew.
Blair does a great job with his subject matter and although such tales are usually drenched with clichés ‘The Messenger’ manages to avoid these pitfalls due to its strong performances and clever screenplay which makes for an engaging and satisfying experience.

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