Written by: Daniel Hadley
Directed by: Marjane Satrapi
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick
After seeing the trailer for The Voices I was optimistic but I had a slight inkling that it could fall too far into the goofy side of horror comedy. I’m happy to report that The Voices carefully walks the line between quirky comedy and tragic horror and that’s a hard line to walk.
When Jerry gets a crush on the hot office girl things spiral out of control when he stops taking his antipsychotics and, spurred on by his talking cat Mr. Whiskers, he finds his violent urges getting harder and harder to control until finally he ends up with a few severed heads in his fridge and several plastic containers filled with human body parts. The great thing about this movie is that Jerry – played brilliantly by Ryan Reynolds – is just so damned likeable you really get a sense that his crimes are truly out of his control. While his cat plays on his violent tendencies his dog Rosco acts as his voice of reason, both animals are voiced by Reynolds himself and he does a great job. His interaction with his talking pets are where much of the humour of the film comes from and while never laugh out loud, it is pretty funny.
What I found most appealing about this movie is the fact that Jerry just wants to be a nice guy and at heart he is. He’s kind, he’s caring and he just wants to get by in the world, and when he snaps it hits you all the harder; he’s constantly trying to be a nice guy but it’s clear he is a slave to his mental affliction, and if not that, he is a slave to his medication. When he takes his pills he sees the world as it really is and it scares him, he loses the ability to talk to his pets and feels truly alone, his constant mental struggle is handled brilliantly and that’s where the true tragedy of the movie comes through.
The movie also plays like a warped romantic comedy as initially Jerry pines for Fiona, the hot girl who works in the offices above the bathtub factory where he works. Fiona, played by Gemma Arterton, is the kind of person that walks that fine line between being kind of a bitch and being quite warm, fun and friendly, and initially she holds all of Jerry’s attention. But slowly he realises that the sweet and kind Lisa, played by the always great Anna Kendrick, is the right girl for him. You see, it sounds like a chick flick and I loved that this movie took those genre tropes and turned them on their head.
The one downfall this movie has is the ending. It’s not bad, but the movie just kind of stops. To be fair, with everything that proceeded it, the ending makes sense but it doesn’t give a solid conclusion. Jerry’s trip through his own psychosis is a wonderfully warped journey that seemed like it was headed to a truly great destination but unfortunately it doesn’t quite make it all the way.
I can see this being a love it or hate kind of movie. Some will enjoy it for its quirky tone and its dark bursts of harsh disturbing violence while others will hate it for its randomness and unfulfilling ending. I would say it’s worth the risk if only for Ryan Reynolds’ performance alone.