Sundance 2014: “The Voices” – Review by MovieManMenzel

Being inside the mind of a serial killer has never been this much fun.

After reading the plot description for The Voices,  I instantly got the impression that the film would either be brilliant or pure garbage. , who previously directed Persepolis and Chicken with Plums gave me some hope that it would be rather solid, but it was the cast that really worried me. The Voices stars  and   and you don’t have to be a film lover to know that these two haven’t had many notable films on their filmography. Needless to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect and braced myself for the worst. 

The Voices stars Ryan Reynolds as Jerry, a happy-go-lucky guy that works at in a factory.  Jerry is upbeat, kind, and a tad bit shy around the ladies, which serves as a problem because he has a crush on Fiona (Gemma Arterton) from accounting. Fiona doesn’t seem to feel the same way about Jerry.  Instead of telling him her true feelings, she leads him on to insure he doesn’t try to date her co-workers, Lisa () and Alison ().  On the surface, Jerry seems like your naïve typical nice guy, but it isn’t until he comes home at night that we as audience members see him for who he really is.

Right off the bat, I have to say that The Voices is one of those films that people will either get it and love it or hate it with a passion. I don’t see too many people being straight down the middle on this one. I personally found The Voices to be weird, quirky, dark, hilarious, and truth be told, brilliant. In other words, Voices is a film that is destined to become a cult classic. It will have audiences divided as they were after the film’s premiere at Sundance. There were many of us who loved it while several others found it to be “too bizarre” for their liking.

Marjane Satrapi creates a world of bright and vivid colors. The factory at which Jerry works isn’t your typical dark and dreary environment but rather bright and colorful. The uniforms that he and his co-workers wear are bright colors like yellow and pink. The use of color really helps with the tone of the film allowing the audience to never take the film seriously but instead serves as a reminder to just have fun with it. As for the characters, they are all likable yet weird and creepy. I love that Satrapi mentioned during the film’s Q&A that she finds Reynolds to be handsome, but also “fucking creepy.”  I don’t think I will ever be able to look at Reynolds the same way again after seeing this film. If you look at Reynolds eyes and smile, they have this creepy aura which makes him look a tad bit crazy.

The main reason why The Voices worked for me above everything else is because it was just so out there and different. The story is bizarre but its also fresh and original. In a world where every single movie about schizophrenia and serial killers feels like more of the same;  it was like a breathe of fresh air to see something unique. The story, which is written by  is incredible and differs from any story that has been made about this subject. With Perry’s script, Satrapi turns the world of Jerry into something that is bright, colorful, and twisted. The film is cleverly directed and never goes too far with the crazy, but instead balances it perfectly.

Some may argue with me, but I think Ryan Reynolds gives the best performance of his career as Jerry. The character is rather complex because while he is very likable; he is also completely insane. In the beginning, a portrait of Jerry is painted for the viewer that completely changed within 30 minutes into the film. At first, Jerry is this super nice guy that seems content with everything in life. He is a bit naïve, shy, and innocent, but as the film goes on, we learn that he is a real nut-job. The complexity of Jerry’s personality is only made more complicated when we learn that he talks to his dog, Bosco () and his cat, Mr. Whiskers () who serve as “the voices” that Jerry hears. Mr. Wiskers and Bosco are basically the good vs. evil in Jerry’s subconscious. The conversations that Jerry has with his Bosco and Mr. Wiskers are hilarious and only add to the fun of the film.

While Reynolds’ Jerry is the star of the film, you do have three supporting female characters that really add something to the story. The first is Arterton, who plays the attractive bitch from the accounting office that leads Jerry to believe he actually has a chance to date her. The character is played in a way that makes her not come off as the typical hot bitch that we see in most films, but at the same time you know she doesn’t have good intentions either. Next, you have Lisa, who is played by Anna Kendrick. Lisa is a great character because she seems to be just as naïve and clueless as Jerry. They both have these bubbly personalities that when they are on-screen together it feels like you are watching two little kids eating a big bowl of ice cream together. Lastly, you have Ella Smith as Alison. Smith plays that girl we all know from the office environment that is usually left out but still tries to tag along so she can feel like she fits in.

All in all, The Voices might be a bit too strange for some, but for those of us who like weird movies that dare to be different; its a fucking masterpiece. If you ever told me that I would love a movie that starred Ryan Reynolds and Gemma Arterton, I would have told you that you are insane. However, after seeing a crazy and creepy Ryan Reynolds, I  can’t help but admit that I have a new level of respect for him as an actor.  The Voices is everything that one could ask for in a comedy about a schizophrenic guy who turns into a serial killer. Oh and one last thing, the film ends on a musical number where the cast performs Sing a Happy Song by The O’Jays. The scene is extremely random, but completely hilarious. 

MovieManMenzel’s final rating for The Voices is a 9 out of 10.

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