Director: Marjane Satrapi
Writer : Michael R. Perry
In the synopsis of The Voices, the main character, Jerry, is described as a 'likeable' guy, so it made sense to cast Ryan Reynold's in the role. But when things turn sinister, it's difficult for Jerry the character, to shed our understanding of Ryan Reynold's the actor. Van Wilder might have been a killer with the ladies, but it’s hard to picture him actually murdering them.
Director Marjane Satrapi opts to show us the world in the idealised way that Jerry sees's it. He is bright and chipper and the movie visuals match his outlook. He works in a ceramics factory (making toilets amongst other things), but rather than dusty and loud, we see it as clean and colourful and the fork-lifts don't just move heavy things, they dance in synchronised formation to music that only Jerry hears. It's a worldview that he has created for himself to offset the horrors of his childhood, and in this world, his animals talk to him.
He has a dog and a cat that act as domesticated versions of the angel and devil on each shoulder. The dog is his voice of reason, while the cat is a Scottish Begbie hissing out murderous missives. Reynolds convinced the director that he should provide the voices of his pets, as the voices are part of him so they should come from him. While his accent and variation might be impressive, it only adds to the cartoonish feel of the movie.
It's this cartoon vibe that undercuts any tension or feeling of peril for the characters. When Anna Kendrick (as Lisa) is put in harms way, you are not concerned for her safety. The world they have created is so fake that there are no consequences whether she survives or not. Nobody sheds a tear when the Coyote goes over the cliff - he just dusts himself off and continues his chase.
It doesn't help that Jerry doesn't seem dangerous at all. As we are seeing things mostly through his eyes, even his acts of actual violence appear to be more like accidents. If Christian Bale or Ed Norton were playing Jerry, there would have been more underlying menace that would have balanced the darkness with the comedy.
The script for The Voices had been doing the rounds for sometime before it was made, with studio's believing that while it was well written, it was un-filmable . While there were plenty of entertaining moments, they were probably right. That the highlight of the movie is the song that comes after the final scene is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the hour and a half that came before it.
Not Required Viewing