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Star – Ryan Reynolds
Genre – Black Comedy
Run Time –103 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Wins & 1 Nomination
Amazon – £3.00 DVD £5.99 Blue Ray
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Ryan Reynolds (that bloke in the BT ads) is one of those movie stars that are just too good-looking to be taken seriously. But Canadian born Ryan wants to be taken seriously and not prepared to cash in on his looks as the blockbuster action hero just yet and so picks interesting and diverse projects, The Voices certainly that. Like all actors he is still vain through and loves to pick films where he is on screen a lot, ‘Buried’ a classic example, him in a box underground for 97% of the screentime. Even in ‘The Voices’ he wears bright pink work wear to make sure you know it’s that bloke from the BT ad. But saying that he seems a cool guy and I enjoy watching his films. I know the ladies do. But the arrival of Bradley Cooper of the same mindset and looks will probably see Reynolds resort to more comic book action movies like Deadpool to get his status back as his career plateaus out.
The Voices screenplay was featured in the 2009 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. The hot property was picked up by Iranian born female director Marjane Satrapi, who bought us the brilliant animation ‘Persopelis’ and she does a good job here with a dark and black comedy that has to deal with talking pets, mental illness and serial killing, not your regular mix in Hollywood.
Ryan Reynolds ... Jerry / Mr. Whiskers (voice) / Bosco (voice) / Deer (voice) / Bunny Monkey (voice)
Gemma Arterton ... Fiona
Anna Kendrick ... Lisa
Jacki Weaver ... Dr. Warren
Ella Smith ... Alison
Paul Chahidi ... Dennis Kowalski
Stanley Townsend ... Sheriff Weinbacher
Adi Shankar ... John
Sam Spruell ... Dave
Valerie Koch ... Jerry's Mother
Gulliver McGrath ... Jerry (12 years old)
Paul Brightwell ... Jerry's Stepfather
Alessa Kordeck ... Sheryl
Michael Pink ... Jesus
Ricardia Bramley ... Sheila Hammer
Handsome but somewhat distant Jerry (Reynolds) works in a warehouse at a box factory where his fellow employees at ‘Milton’s Packaging’ are aware of his oddities and generally don’t hangout with him after work much, and it turns out for good reasons. Jerry keeps to himself and is supposed to be taking medication but hearing voices again, talking to his pets in his flat as they appear to talk back to him. At his weekly appointment with shrink Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver) she becomes aware of that and warns him to take his pills or he could be returned to his previous incarceration. His workmates have no idea of his past life and troubled childhood.
Things perk up for Jerry when a sexy temp, Fiona (Gemma Arterton), shows up and his boss (Dennis Kowalski) decides to get him more involved in the social scene by allowing him to help organize the firms 30th birthday party for the employees. Fiona is not particularly interested in the simpleton and his oddball social graces but he is invited to a drink after work with her and the other office girls because they fancy him, and he has a truck.
After a late night miscommunication over a meeting together in a Chinese restaurant Fiona mysteriously disappears and Jerry becomes increasing erratic as he neglects those tablets some more. His pets are now telling him how to run his life. His cat, Mr. Whiskers (Reynolds voice), is the calming conscious and Bosco the dog (Reynolds voice) constantly reminding Jerry what a loser he is.
Lisa (Anna Kendrick), who also works in the office, actually likes Jerry, regardless, and begins to date him and that, seems to calm him down some bough to take the tablets. But when he is on his meds his only friends to talk to, his pets, have stopped talking to him and he is all alone in the world and even more unstable and so throws his pills down the sink and the turmoil and dark calling begins again. His pets will let nothing get between him and them.
I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into with this other than it was a low budget indie that featured high in the Rottentomatos Top 100 chart for 2014, how I’m picking my movies these days now I can’t rent anymore. I buy off Amazon Marketplace and then flip them on the high street in CEX Exchange and hope I will see lot of cool movies that way. However, as with any film critic list, their opinion is pretentious and subjective and you get a get a mix of the good, the bad and the boring that way. For some reason broadsheet and cinema critics are drawn to dull movies although this is certainly not that.
It’s darker than it is funnier which makes this pitch black comedy strangely more appealing. It moves between the two and, at times, hard to believe this is a comedy. It’s pretty darn gory and even sadistic at times. Reynolds is way too good looking for the role, of course, although it is refreshing he is playing it as serial killers always seem to have glasses and a comb over in movies. Dexter is not the only serial killer out there girls and boys want to shag. If Reynolds is any good at playing sociopaths is hard to gauge, as to me, he is always Ryan Reynolds in his movies and had clearly watched other movies to see how serial killers should behave. Its all in the eyes and speech it seems. Fair play to romcom ‘hotties’ Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick to take on the roles here as they are far from complimentary as the film sneaks into B-Movie horror territory at half-way.
I enjoyed it enough but not blown away by it and I hoped for just that little bit more satire and humor here. The idea is fun and the film smarter than it looks but you just don’t climb in through its window to believe it. It’s visually over-stylized for some reason and that doesn’t really work although it gives the film a needed extra dimension and, I Suppose, allows it to be black comedy and not just another serious and foreboding serial killer film. A good soundtrack and decent writing complete the package for Reynolds to express his acting chops with those quirky projects, whilst Bradley Cooper hovers up all the awards and Oscar nominations…
Imdb.com – 6.3/10.0 (3.564votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 73% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 62%critic’s approval
The PR stunt for the film was a fridge in Americas malls.
Ryan chose to do the pet voices himself and modeled them on his Scottish and English friends. He does a good Jock impression.
Film.com- ‘‘Here is a pitch-black psycho-horror-comedy to restore one’s faith in the “What the eff did I just watch?” genre’.
Cinevue –‘Not only is The Voices uproariously funny throughout, but it's actually far cleverer than one might expect’.
The Mail –‘The quirky film is simultaneously bizarre, humorous, disturbing and suspenseful’.
The Sun –‘The film’s combination of psychological drama -- cue the childhood trauma -- with blood-splattered limb-cutting, talking pets on the couch is a risky one that finally works because Perry and Satrapi find the right tonal mixture for the material.
Empire –‘Full-force performance form Ryan Reynolds but not as funny as it hopes it is’.
Epoch times –‘On paper, it all might sound rather sad and grubby, but it is actually a rather elegant little macabre tragedy’
Torontot News –‘Reynolds is fantastic as the deeply confused protagonist, while Arterton and Kendrick do some very subtle work in the margins. Don't read anything more. Just see it.