The Voices is odd, funny and dark and with these qualities it will not be for everyone. This horror, comedy as a style that I more associate with the nineties experimental filmmaking ‘Natural Born Killers’, ‘Edward Scissorhands’, even elements of ‘Meet the Applegates’ from the eighties taking small quantities of this type of film-making the director creates a weird tale which just isn’t quite dark enough to be hard hitting and not funny enough to be poignant satire. However, this creation is very much its own creature and enjoyable despite this.
Jerry is a happy go lucky character working in a bathtub factory; he is generally likable though he comes across a little naïve. Jerry lives with his dog Bosco and his cat Mr Whiskers above a disused bowling alley. Unfortunately both his pets can talk to him literally, even more unfortunate this is due to him not taking his meds. (The dog Bosco is the good part of Jerry while the cat Mr Whiskers represents his darker side of his psyche which eventually turns psychotic). He has a crush on Fiona (Gemma Arterton) who for her part is not interested. After arranging a date with her – ignoring the actual member of the admin team interested in him Lisa (Anna Kendrick) – at a local Chinese restaurant she jilts him to go on a karaoke night with the girls. When her car breaks down she gets a lift off Jerry who happens to be passing. As he is has not been taking his medication he hallucinates she is an angel he accidentally runs a deer over and kills the wounded animal with a hunting knife, Fiona not surprisingly tries to escape but gets killed (accidentally?) by Jerry. After this Fiona becomes a talking head stored in Jerry’s fridge. By the end of the film there are few more heads stored and talking to him.
I did enjoy this film I particularly liked the way the director ‘Marjane Satrapi’ uses the color and lighting ( the works overalls are pink and his apartment is dated though cheerful) until at one point he starts takes his meds and realizes the literal shit he is living in. Marjane plays with reversing the idea that we see in films of drug use, that when medicated Jerry’s world is dark and reality empty, but when not on them is perception is alive though schizophrenic and psychotic. Ryan Reynolds who plays Jerry and who voices the animals (in effect are The Voices) plays the character with charm and warmth and you can’t help but like the guy. This isn’t the film that is going to get Ryan noticed by the mainstream, he seems to not quite make it when he plays the lead – for instance ‘The Green Lantern’ – but he does have some charisma and warmth. You can’t help but feel some modicum of sorrow for the character even though he is extremely twisted. This is a departure from your usual study of the serial killer. Jerry isn’t a sociopath he has a conscious but the abuse in his childhood and the obvious schizophrenia have destroyed his sense of reasoning. He’s no Hannibal Lecter but a Norman Bates and like Norman is completely at the mercy of his own insanity. Reynolds plays with the Norman Bates persona if you can imagine Norman but a little less neurotic, more tripped out. On its own terms the film works for me it could have been darker and more dangerous but it was on the whole a good effort. The humor made it watchable and entertaining. If you have nothing better to do have a watch of this, but be warned if you have pets make sure they don’t start talking to you especially the cat.