No Messages (2012) – By Cary Conley

Dave is a 30-something bartender whose life is in a rut. He comes in to work each day where he then has to deal with a hung over boss and a couple of irritating regulars: one man who consistently arrives before the bar is open or just as its being closed and the other an obnoxious funnyman. On this particular day Dave seems a bit preoccupied with constantly checking his phone messages, hoping for a call that probably won’t even come. You see, Dave’s ex-girlfriend has been out of the country and out of touch. But today she is finally coming home and Dave, who still carries a torch for his ex, is convinced she’s going to call him. He’s so consumed with his memories that he fails to notice another regular customer, a pretty lady who has been coming in each night, ordering a drink, and working hard at flirting with Dave. Everyone seems to notice this ritual, including Dave’s boss and even the fall-off-the-stool drunk. Everyone, that is, except Dave. But tonight is going to end up different. Dave’s boss has had enough and he’s going to try to convince Dave to meet someone new and to forget his past. Will Dave’s message come through in time? Will the message come at all? Will Dave finally move beyond the past and meet someone new, or is it too late?

Writer/director Cian McGarrigle has created a humorous and sweet 20-minute short about one man’s struggle with his past even as he meets his future. Rory Connolly as Dave and David Murray as pub owner Simon are both excellent in their respective roles. Connolly expertly balances his character’s good nature with a sense of desperation while Murray is terrific as the pub owner with a rough and gruff exterior but a heart of gold. And Eric Lalor, whose character is aptly nicknamed "The Cock", is very funny as a drunken patron with a million stories. Finally, Lacy Moore is enchanting as the attractive, funny, flirty wannabe-girlfriend. While her role was quite small, her magnetic personality and fabulous smile manages to steal the few scenes she has from the others.

The real payoff comes at the end, though, as McGarrigle has seen fit to add just a pinch of highly satisfying irony as the film fades and the credits roll. McGarrigle has written a fun and gentle story that manages to perfectly blend a bit of humor with a bit of romance. Not only is the writing strong, but the film itself has very high production value and is quite well-made. No Messages is a terrific little film with a great ending and marks McGarrigle as a filmmaker to watch.