Director: Marjane Satrapi
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton & Anna Kendrick
Synopsis: 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
Rating: 15 Run time: 103 minutes Release date: 13 July (DVD & Blu-Ray)
Ryan Reynolds has had something of a mixed career to date. He’s starred in various blockbusters, done the rom-com thing and has even been brave enough to take a few risks in his career. Reynolds has also starred in some duds, with Green Lantern and R.I.P.D . being low points, yet his sarcastic wit and naive charm have often been the best bit about these films. The Voices is a return to form for Reynolds, even if the film itself proves uneven yet fun.
Jerry (Reynolds) is working in a bathtub factory, wearing a garish pink uniform and is unnervingly chipper in his small town job. He craves the affection of co-worker Fiona (Gemma Arterton), while Lisa (Anna Kendrick) hopes that Jerry will take the time to notice her. After mustering up the nuts to ask Fiona out on a date to the local Chinese restaurant, Jerry soon finds himself spurned in favour of a karaoke night out with the girls.
In typical fashion, Jerry takes this hit on the chin and does absolutely nothing about it. That is until his dog and cat, who can talk by the way, persuade him to give into the feelings he has harboured since childhood; murder. See, Jerry is somewhat of a loon. He sees a psychiatrist (Jacki Weaver), but informs her that he hasn’t been taking his pills properly and conveniently leaves out the more sinister aspects of his personality.
When he’s at home, an apartment above a disused bowling alley, he seems to live a relatively comfortable life, yet when he does take his medication it hits home the squalor he actually lives in. It’s only when he doesn’t take his pills, that it clouds the reality of his homicidal lifestyle and allows Jerry to take instructions from his cat; Mr. Whiskers and his dog: Bosco. The two playing the good and the bad of Jerry’s complex personality.
Director Marjane Starapi attempts to mix horror with comedy in the blackest of styles, yet never settles on one particular approach. She moves between horror to comedy, then back again in a slightly bumpy style that never quite settles. Despite the shifts in tone, Starapi keeps things involving enough for the audience to remain interested, and the cast are on good from, forgiving any lapses in pace.
The cast, for the large part, are enjoyable to watch. Reynolds is able to convey evil through his square-jawed good looks, kind of like Patrick Bateman, only his portrayal of Jerry shows a lot more innocence and, some, unwilling to be a murderous psychopath. Reynolds also provides the voices for Mr. Whiskers and Bosco, and this provides some of the films funnier moments. Anna Kendrick gives a winning performance as Lisa, as she shyly peruses Jerry in the hope that he will finally take notice of her, instead of the “office hottie” Fiona.
Fiona (Gemma Arterton) is perhaps given the short straw, as she’s not given a lot else to do rather than be the object of Jerry’s disturbing affections. It’s a shame, and a bit of a waste, as Arterton is a more than capable actress yet seems to have fallen into the generic British character bracket here.
The Voices triumphs on various levels. Reynolds is a success as Jerry, while the interactions with his pets are disturbingly funny. The dark moments of The Voices are handled well, even if it is a shame we don’t see enough of them, and the supporting cast compliment Reynolds’ performance. Yet, the quirky nature of The Voices will ensure you either run with it or you don’t as it is the definition of odd. Stick with it though and you’ll be rewarded with a blackly comic horror that sits somewhere between American Psycho and Dexter on an acid trip.
In summary: The Voices is sure to please fans of dark-comedy horror, with Ryan Reynolds putting in an impressive performance as the troubled small town murderer.