Director: Marjane Satrapi
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver
Running Time: 101 minutes
Synopsis: Warehouse worker Jerry (Reynolds) is a shy young man plagued with mental illness. After realising that not taking his medication allows him to communicate with his pets and therefore not be alone, he decides to stop taking them. Once off of the pills however, the bodies start to mount.
Ryan Reynolds doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation in Hollywood when it comes to movies. His breakout role came with VAN WILDER which wasn’t the most highbrow of films, then came BLADE TRINITY and his unfortunate decision to play THE GREEN LANTERN has followed him around ever since. He is nonetheless a remarkable actor with turns in BURIED, THE NINES and FINDER’S FEE showcasing what he can achieve when given something good. THE VOICES is another example of the latter, with the Ryan Reynolds persona that we’ve come to recognise from so many of his previous flicks, vanished entirely.
Reynolds excels, showcasing that he’s more than just Van Wilder. Jerry is a shy and awkward warehouse worker who suffers from a hereditary mental illness; he is far from Reynolds’ usual overconfident, loud and brash counterparts. His turn in THE VOICES completely makes you believe in Jerry and will have you sympathising with his plight even though he’s technically the bad guy.
Reynolds doesn’t stop at just playing Jerry, oh no, he pulls a semi Eddie Murphy and also voices Jerry’s house pets Bosco and Mr. Whiskers. Being privy to this fact before viewing the film it was genuinely hard to believe that the additional voices heard were also Reynolds as they sound absolutely nothing like him. His pets play to standard cat/dog stereotypes; Bosco is Jerry’s loving and loyal dog who just want’s Jerry to do good things, whilst Mr. Whiskers is cold and malevolent, urging Jerry to succumb to his basic desires. Mr. Whiskers is so brilliant with all his foul-mouthed Scottish put-downs that he almost steals the show. He is easily the best cinema kitty since Jonesy. Cat owners will definitely identify with several scenes and may have you questioning just what is going on in the mind of your beloved moggie when you get home.
The humour doesn’t just come from the crass things that the cat says. The main comedy is pumped straight from the darkest of veins; there are several absurd chain reactions that will have you wincing and guffawing in equal measures. Think KILLER JOE meets AMERICAN PSYCHO and you’re on the right comedic lines.
The plot is exceptionally surreal and quirky due to the fact that our protagonist is ‘off his meds’. We see the world through Jerry’s non-drug-addled mind and it’s actually a rather beautifully sweet and fun place to be. Everything is awesome in his little world, even when things start going horribly wrong and co-worker Fiona’s (Arterton) head turns up in his fridge. His perception of Fiona, the films resident Brit, is a complete over the top stereotype with dialogue steeped in Tally Ho’s and Toodle Pips, but works perfectly.
The art design of the film which although set in America, was filmed in Germany, is gorgeous, flitting effortlessly between neon brights to murky blacks jarring backwards and forwards between Jerry’s reality and the world as it is. The practical effects are stunning and will have you believing that disembodied heads have feelings too.
THE VOICES will charm and entertain those with a thirst for dark comedies with a quirky edge.
[usr=4] Mr. Whiskers demands you go watch THE VOICES when it’s released on Friday 20th March.