Gateway Films News > September 2015

Don't Shoot The Messenger - SciFiNow Magazine

Tuesday 8th September 2015

There's no escaping the dead for Robert Sheehan. In psychological drama The Messenger, the former Misfts actor plays Jack, a young man haunted by his past and the ghosts of the dead looking for closure.

When investigative journalist Mark (Jack Fox) is killed, he turns to this reluctant medium to reach out to his widow. But is Jack's gift real, or are these apparitions only in his head?

According to David O'Hara, who plays the detective in charge of the murder investigation, the film's strength lies in its ambiguity and suspense. "Its strong point is that you don't really know what what's going on with anyone at any one time. It's open, and you don't really know who's done what. We don't know if it was [Jack] who killed this
woman's husband. This isn't a ghost story. I'd say it's more Hitchcock than horror."

Mark's grieving widow Sarah is played by Tamzin Merchant [Salem). Remaining ' tight-lipped on the finer points of the story, she says the relationship between her character and Jack is unnerving.

"She's being watched by him... so there's a bizarre, almost predator-prey feeling. Things are always shrouded by this not knowing what's real or not real. When I read the script I was blown away by how delicate and beautiful it was, but I don't want to give too much away."

The ensemble cast also includes Joely Richardson, Lily Cole as Jack's elder sister Emma, and Alex Wyndham as her skeptical lawyer husband Martin. "I think this whole thing is really inconvenient for him," says Wyndham. "Martin's one of those guys trying to fix and control everything. From his point of view there are no supernatural things going on - this is just a really troubled person. It's not glamorous, like The Sixth Sense style. "Robert's great though. It's a demanding role, and he's taken to it with exactly the right energy. He's just a really nice, stable presence." The question of Jack's real or imagined abilities is woven throughout the film via the use of flashbacks to his childhood, particularly to his father's death. Could some past trauma have set him on this path? "The flashbacks rooted things," says Wyndham. "Jack's quite an unsympathetic character, he's quite aggressive... Intercutting wdth these really quite emotional, tortured scenes killed me." "Death really is the last great mystery," says Merchant." No one knows what happens after, so anything that explores that idea is always fascinating. I hope audiences vrill embrace [the film] for its heart and the huge weight of emotion within in."


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