Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Voices: Movie Review


A dark comedy that veers too far into a messy horror-comedy.
The Voices stars Ryan Reynolds as a really creepy version of a lonely everyman working at factory and shipping warehouse in a small town. He is just so clearly unhinged that when we see him talking to his pets, and they talk back to him, it's not surprising at all because no part of him lives in any kind of reality. I know the premise of a man who hears his pets talking to him is going to be a weird film, but here they just took things too far. 2014

Directed by: Marjane Satrapi

Screenplay by: Michael R. Perry

Starring: Ryan Renolds, Anna Kendrick
and Gemma Arterton

Jerry (Reynolds) is introduced as the “nice” guy in a small town. He happily agrees to arrange the most depressing office party ever imagined and always has the most ghoulish smile on his face. I get the sense that the other characters mistake him for a normal (if not lonely) harmless man. But viewers are unlikely to make that mistake because he doesn't look or act like a normal person in any sense of the word.

Photos courtesy of Remstar Medias.
Fiona (Gemma Arteron) is the first character to apparently fall for Jerry's “charms”. That word has to go in quotation marks because even though I understand that Reynolds is a good looking man, none of his natural charm or charisma comes through in Jerry. No matter how weird this small town is, everybody should be steering clear of Jerry. But not Fiona. She likes him, but more importantly she's looking for adventure in her life and her personality is too big for this small town.

The next character to apparently fall for Jerry's “charms” is Lisa (Anna Kendrick). She fits the reality of this town much more appropriately because she doesn't seem to notice Jerry until Fiona does and she probably likes him because she's a quirky lonely girl in a small town who could be happy with almost anybody. Part of the problem with this movie is that none of the characters live in the same reality. Jerry is so far removed from the normal world while Lisa actually represents a very realistic girl and Fiona is somewhere in between.

The meat of the movie is really just a violent bloody mess. When things get more ridiculous, they just get bloodier, and more blood does not equal better. However, the point of the movie (if there is one) lies with Jerry's pets and what they say to him.

Jerry's cat Mr. Whiskers (voiced by Reynolds) is the evil schemer and his dog Bosco (also voiced by Reynolds) is the slow, dumb, naive idiot. They of course represent the good and evil found in everyone; the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. Except here the angel is a bit too dimwitted to do much good and the cat (as cats are frequently imagined to be) is an evil genius who loves murder. Oh, and they are really funny. The cat's observations were very true and very funny and provided a few moments of well-earned humour.

Overall The Voices was just a mess. Jerry was a ridiculous uninteresting character that is so far removed from any reality with no reason to follow him. They also presented a lot of juxtapositions – the opening credits play during a pink-filled introduction of the factory with a quirky upbeat song all inter-mixed with scenes of blood and murder; the sleepy, happy town of Milton ends up being the home of gruesome murders; and then the voices of the cat and dog represent the fractions of good and evil. But the latter is the only one that really works. It's a dark comedy which veers too far into horror-comedy to be all that effective.

Similar Titles:

Murder of a Cat (2014) - A deceptively clever and very funny murder mystery.

Horns (2014) - Original blending of genres wears too thin.