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The Voices (Review)

Is Ryan Reynolds trying to dethrone Dexter Morgan?

by Nav Qateel

The ever-smiling, always happy Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds) works in a small factory that makes bathtubs. At home his companions are his talking cat and dog, Mr. Whiskers and Bosco, respectively. Jerry has a crush on the sexy English office girl, Fiona (Gemma Arterton), who stands him up for a date. But schizophrenic Jerry hasn't been taking his meds, as was ordered by the courts who set him free from the loony bin. Jerry is a serial-killer that just hasn't killed anyone yet, however, that's all about to change.

The Voices
Directed by Marjane Satrapi
Cast Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick
Release Date 6 February 2015
Nav's Grade: C+

Jerry Hickfang and his co-workers wear bright pink uniforms while they work and scoot about in brightly-polished forklift trucks. Whenever he sees Fiona, the object of his desire, butterflies flutter around her. Jerry even has conversations with his cat and dog. But Mr. Whiskers calls him evil and tells him to do bad things, while the sad-eyed Bosco tells Jerry that he's a "good boy." Jerry always listens to what Bosco has to say but the cat's words appear to be prophetic.

Jerry has a court-appointed shrink (played by Jacki Weaver), and she persuades him to take his meds again, otherwise he'll be locked back up. Jerry goes home and takes his meds, then goes for a short nap. When he wakes up the meds have kicked in, and his brightly-colored, neat, orderly apartment is dull, dank, littered with cartons and there's blood all over the place. Mr. Whiskers and Bosco won't even talk to him. It's the exact opposite of what we've been seeing when looking through Jerry's eyes, as director Satrapi was feeding us his vision of life.

Everyone in the office can see Jerry for what he is, or, at least see that he's not playing with a full deck. All of them except Lisa (Anna Kendrick). While Jerry's crushing on Fiona, Lisa's crushing on Jerry, which is a recipe for disaster when you're dealing with a schizophrenic wannabe serial killer who's not taking the meds that keep him anchored to reality.

Satrapi does a good job with the story and the pitch-black comedic aspect of The Voices. The characters are mostly good, but not as good as the script. And it's this uneven pairing of the two that seem to make the overall feel of the film a bit of a letdown in places. While the comedy was extremely amusing, and the film was aesthetically pleasing--in a candy-colored sort of way--the rest of The Voices' seemed to stumble a bit. Even as we learn about Jerry the little traumatized boy with the insane mother, it didn't offer any sense of having gotten to know Jerry the man better. Sure, we understand why he's now sawing off heads and leaving them in the fridge, but there's this lack of depth that didn't sit well. Perhaps I'm just nitpicking.

Anywho, The Voices was still a good enough film to recommend, and make sure you watch the cast dance and sing at the end. I thought it was a bit cheesy. But cheesy can be good...can't it?

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