As a child I watched Tom & Jerry cartoons. Cat chases mouse, and on rare occasions, Tom would be presented with a small angel on one should and a small devil on the other, telling him to do things. In Marjane Satrapi‘s new horror comedy, THE VOICES, a man life is being controlled by good and evil. Though it’s not an angel and a devil but ironically, a cat and a dog.
Jerry is a guy that just wants to fit in. He doesn’t have a desire to stand out, he just wants to live a quiet life, do his factory worker job, and maybe, just maybe, meet a nice girl on the job. This sounds pretty easy except Jerry has a big problem, two to be exact; Mr. Whiskers and Bosco. You see, Jerry hasn’t been taking his medication. The medication that his court appointed therapist has prescribed for him. After a very unfortunate turn of events, Mr. Whiskers and Bosco (Jerry’s very own angel and devil, who happen to be his cat and his dog) pull him in two very different directions. With a severed head in his fridge, can Mr. Whiskers convince Jerry to kill again? Or, can Bosco keep his owner a “good boy”?
Ryan Reynolds‘ performance as Jerry is a celebrated character study. The highs and lows in which Reynolds expresses, literally within seconds and in the same breath, is astounding. I have always been a fan of Ryan and ever since his stellar performance in BURIED, he has solidified himself in my book of truly great actors. His perpetual boyish charm makes it difficult to root against him.
Truth is, Jerry is an extremely tortured and wounded soul. While hilarious, this film delves into the stigma of mental illness. Director, Marjane Satrapi, best known for her animated feature Persepolis, brings the funny to life with shocking color palettes when Jerry is in his happy place. In stark contrast, the reality that everyone else experiences is disturbing in both color and styling. Filmed in Berlin, the backdrop is actually perfect for a timeless middle America, industry town. Satrapi admitted that at moments she let Reynolds continue takes because she knew something genius was about to happen. Reynolds ability to connect with Jerry should garner him some serious attention. Each beat is precise and well thought out. Reynolds is Jerry, and I do mean that as a compliment.
THE VOICES is hilarious, weird, over the top, and yet completely grounded in its uniqueness. The film is almost too good to describe. Go for Ryan… as if I have to tell you that anyhow.
A film by Marjane Satrapi
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver
In theatres and available on VOD: February 6, 2015
Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is that chipper guy clocking the nine-to-five at a bathtub factory, with the offbeat charm of anyone who could use a few friends. With the help of his court-appointed psychiatrist, he pursues his office crush (Gemma Arterton). However, the relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn after she stands him up for a date. Guided by his evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog, Jerry must decide whether to keep striving for normalcy, or indulge in a much more sinister path.