The Voices (2015)

voices2015-2Well, this was a weirdly pleasant surprise. The writer/director of Persopolis and Ryan Reynolds have given me something … weird with The Voices.

A likable guy pursues his office crush with the help of his evil talking pets, but things turn sinister when she stands him up for a date.

Having already proved that she could combine drama and comedy with her comic, and animated film Persopolis, I was fairly sure this would at the very least be a competently made movie. Fortunately, my faith in Marjane Satrapi was well placed, and even Ryan Reynolds managed to surprise me in this one. Admittedly, there were one or two jokes in the movie that I could have done with out. Prison rape being the subject of one of those jokes. Overall though, the tone and feel kinda worked.

Reynolds gives a surprisingly good performance as Jerry, Mr. Whiskers and Boscoe (yes, he voices his pets in this one, which totally makes sense) and his portrayal of a guy on the brink of his full psychotic break is really effective. A lot of the time he has this goofy innocence to him, but there are a few moments of real anger that remind you how dangerous this man really is. Particularly near the end when Jerry returns to his psychiatrists office, there is something really tense and frightening about it, and that scene really brought the movie home for me.

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One thing that might have been interesting would have been seeing more of the reality of Jerry’s world. We see how disgusting and awful his apartment is when he takes his medication and returns to the real world, but it was hard to know if that reality extended into the rest of his life or not. The medication gave his life a rosy glow and everything seemed pretty good, so it might have been interesting to see that play out in his work place. With that said, it was effective enough in telling the story, and I’m not all that upset about it.

Anna Kendrick is great, and adorable, as Lisa and Gemma Arterton is very enjoyable too. Plus, you can’t ignore the great presence that is Jackie Weaver (Stoker). The whole cast turns in pretty solid performances honestly, even the dog and cat actors are great.

It does suffer from the stumbling block of trying to make your main character both likable and a serial killer, and as a result a weird line is walked between him being evil and not. His first two killings start off as accidents that he “fixes”, and so they do try and make sure you don’t hate him, even though it’s clear that he is deranged and a murderer.

Overall though, the movie does work with the dark tone it sets, and manages to be a pretty fun black comedy. Reynolds is charming, it’s pretty well directed, and his performance as himself and all of his delusions was an interesting thing to watch. Check it out.

RATING: ****

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