Verdict: Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal deserve better than this baffling and emotionally empty film.

A married couple are faced with the prospect of the husband being sent to space for two years.

Two of Ireland’s most in-demand actors, Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal, have teamed up for Garth Davis’ new sci-fi drama Foe.

Set in the American Midwest in 2065, the film tells the story of Junior (Mescal) and Henrietta (Ronan), a married couple who live in a remote farmhouse surrounded by dry, practically inhospitable land as a result of a never-ending drought.

The company OuterMore is working on creating a home for humans in space, and one day, its representative Terrance (Aaron Pierre) shows up at their house and reveals Junior has been called up to work in space for two years.

To stop Henrietta from being on her own during that time, they create an artificial double of Junior to keep her company.

The concept may ring some bells and that’s because it is essentially the same as the Beyond the Sea episode of Black Mirror, which was released earlier this year. It is unfortunate timing for Foe because you can’t help but compare the two and the Black Mirror episode is far superior.

While the initial premise is the same, the rest of the story is very different to Beyond the Sea. Foe is a domestic drama confined to the farmhouse and its surrounding area and it focuses on how Junior and Henrietta’s marriage is affected by his looming conscription.

Terrance, a mysterious figure who may or may not be trustworthy, visits the couple regularly to interview them to help make the double as authentic as possible and this ends up causing friction between Junior and Henrietta.

The script for this movie, based on Iain Reid’s novel of the same name, is tonally all over the place. Big dramatic moments come out of nowhere and make no sense and the two leads seem to have random mood swings.

The performances cannot be faulted though. Ronan and Mescal really throw themselves into their roles and do as much as they possibly can with their characters, who we never really get to know with any depth.

Foe is not a complete disaster, but Ronan and Mescal deserve better than this baffling and emotionally empty film.

In cinemas Friday 20th October.

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