Take a Drink: each time Jerry hallucinates
Take a Drink: anytime Jerry creepily smiles
Take a Drink: during each creepy moment
Do a Shot: for each mention of Chinese resturants
Do a Shot: for Asian Elvis
Take a Drink: for each shocking moment
By: Matt Conway (Two Beers) –
It’s been a tough road for Ryan Reynolds as an actor. After over a decade of bit parts in television shows and films, Reynolds broke out in his role in the romantic comedy Just Friends. While the film was not a big box office hit, it did well, and showed how much charisma Reynolds had. It seems Hollywood took note, because his career skyrocketed quickly, as he landed several big roles only a few years after. While he has had a few successes, and both Safe House and The Proposal are rather fun for what they are, Reynolds’ transition for the most part has not panned out.
The most apparent example of that is The Green Lantern, in which Reynolds starred in one of the biggest disasters in the superhero genre since Batman and Robin. Not only that, but a majority of the films Reynolds has starred in have underperformed at the box office. With this lack of success, Reynolds is getting back to his roots with smaller films, with his latest being the dark comedy The Voices. This was a great call, as The Voices is a very good film featuring Reynolds’ career best performance.
The Voices follows Jerry, a seemingly normal man trying to fit in at his new job at the local factory. Jerry, though, has a secret- he hears his pets talk and talks back to them. After taking a liking to one of his co-workers, his pets begin to lead him on a dark path.
As I mentioned previously, this is the best audiences have seen Ryan Reynolds as an actor, as he is truly daring in this unique role. Jerry is obviously mental ill from the start, but Reynolds is able to ride the line of depicting mental illness from an honest perspective. Reynolds is oddly likable in the role, and as the audience it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy as he continues to trip up left and right.
Reynolds also voices both Mr. Whiskers and Bosco, his pet cat and dog whose voices he hears. Reynolds voice is honestly unrecognizable as both animals, as his unique voices are also quite convincing. Both of the animal roles in the film deliver a majority of the film’s more comedic moments, and he is able to pull them off perfectly.
The film rides a tight rope when it comes to tone, but for the most part it’s all managed quite well. Written by Michael R. Perry, the script takes several different tones, with a mix of comedic, dramatic, and horror elements all combined into one. Thankfully, the film does a nice job balancing the three. As the film goes on, it gets less funny and more scary, which is a gradual change that fit the film well.
The Voices works mainly because of how well it is able to handle Jerry as a balanced character. Reynolds gives it his all and is great in the role, but Perry’s script helps the performance by giving small details to really make the character feel like a rounded person. He is a wounded soul, who is plagued by his past and the voices he hears. From the start, it’s very clear that he means well, as with each kill he seems more scared about what he is doing, but does not have the control to stop it. The film never judges the character, but also never condones the actions he is doing.
The Voices does have quite a few funny moments. Perry’s script mostly features very random humor, more so reliant on the actors’ reactions than there being any real jokes. Actions like Jerry’s voices enjoying the more “primal” moments of Animal Planet were quite funny, and pulled off due to the great comedic timing of the cast itself.
Behind the director’s chair here is Marjane Satrapi, who gives a great effort. Satrapi, along with her cinematographer Maxime Alexandre, creates some striking visuals, especially the fun contrast of the all pink uniforms in the dull factory setting. Satrapi also handles the film’s flashbacks quite well, creating a real sense of pathos that gives more depth to Jerry.
At times, The Voices can be quite messy. While the character of Jerry and the dialogue in Perry’s script is quite good, the story and its direction are very routine. Every character aside from Jerry is a plot device, which is even more of a shame considering the supporting cast features the likes of Gemma Arterton, Jacki Weaver, and Anna Kendrick.
The film also does not start off on a very great note. Almost like a basketball player in sports, Satrapi takes time before giving us a true feel for where the film is going. While that’s fine and dandy in a basketball game, The Voices could have used a more focused start to get the story off on a better note.
The Voices is bound to have its detractors, but also should build up a cult following. It’s a daring mix of comedy, drama, and horror; melded together thanks to Ryan Reynolds’s best performance yet. Hopefully there is more great work to come.