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Review - The Voices

By midlandsmovies, Mar 23 2015 07:35PM

The Voices (2015) Dir. Marjane Satrapi

Well, let’s start with the obvious elephant in the room. It’s nice to see (even from the trailer I reckon) Ryan Reynolds trying something that, well, doesn’t look completely shit. His recent output of RIPD, Safehouse & the abysmal Green Lantern movie showed a real lack of risk in his acting projects and from someone even as likeable as Reynolds, the movie going public knew a stinker when they saw one. Although essentially a comic actor, Reynolds is at his best mixing his snarky persona with heavier material (Smokin’ Aces, Buried) and The Voices allows him to revel in this contrast.

The Voices begins with Reynolds as Jerry, a menial assembly line worker in a world that looks one part Truman Show suburbia and another part Grand Budapest Hotel fantasy, whose seemingly innocent view on the world hides a dark and disturbing secret. You see, Jerry’s world is influenced heavily by the voices he hears – mainly from his dog Bosco and his cat Mr. Whiskers. Through talks with his psychiatrist we realise that Jerry should be taking medication for his condition but as the animals manipulate him into more and more menacing situations, Jerry slowly loses his grip on reality. As his crush on colleague Fiona (Gemma Arterton) ends in bloodshed, he then projects her voice onto her dismembered fridge-head as his life spirals from his grasp.

The film’s style ranges from dark reality to insane hallucinations and it is where these cross over does it have the greatest effect. Using sound, image, colour and slick (and sick) cinematography, all the tricks in the directorial handbook are well utilised to show the “projection” of Jerry’s mind onto his surroundings. With the animals acting like his conscience – the dog being his angelic good side and the cat egging him on to more hazardous acts – the film plays on these contrasts to get its points of accountability and sanity across.

Tonally, it is a tad chaotic with the narrative and characters a bit of a jumbled mess but you could argue this still fits in with the mind of the delusional Jerry. Anna Kendrick plays another likeable co-worker called Lisa, who tries to find the good in Jerry but after a failed surprise date, discovers some very nasty home truths. Coming full circle, Reynolds is fantastic as the loner protagonist, his fantasies mixing with the ugly real-world consequences and Reynolds capably leaps from fanciful visions to threatening evil from scene to scene without breaking a sweat. But he does break a neck or two!

I think the trailer mis-sells the film slightly with its emphasis on comedy over horror – omitting disturbing scenes such as a young Jerry with his ill mother – but those wanting to see a creepy yarn with a pitch-black comedy sensibility may just enjoy the most wonderfully weird movie of 2015 so far.

7/10 Midlands Movies Mike

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