Tuesday, 7 July 2015

'The Voices' review

Well that was weird..... Hit the jump for my thoughts on 'The Voices', which lands a DVD and Blu-Ray release next week.

I'm not quite sure what it wants to be, and I suppose that's a good thing. At certain points it's quite funny, at others it's just weird, and at others it's downright horrifying. Always, though, it's pretty accomplished and consistently interesting.

Ryan Reynolds - not quite all there...
Reynolds plays a character he is not normally associated with - a serial killer that hears various voices in his head - mostly emanating from his pets. Indeed, his presence here is completely unexpected, given that this is a relatively low budget feature, from a not - too - prominent director (Marjane Satrapi (yes, the Persepolis one)). And I have to say, he plays it brilliantly! Such a layered and nuanced performance is not what one should expect from a Hollywood A-lister (of course, Reynolds appeared in Buried, which was also fantastic), but in portraying this character, he has secured himself a place on acting hitlists all over the world. Or, at least, I hope. As for the other performances? Well, Reynolds has the only main part of the film, the other players are there merely to provide the odd laugh and some kookiness (which they do extremely well).

So, whats the story? Our protagonist, Jerry, is a happy, upbeat, and totally mental factory worker. He soon falls in love, and love always leads to trouble... Trouble, in this case, is a weird and surreal killing spree, in which Jerry stops taking his meds and embraces his hallucinations. Interesting, no?

Visually, it's spectacular. The design is minimalist and cool, with a refreshing vibrant pink motif running through the whole film. This adds a level of uniqueness to the film, and also marks a distinct move towards kookiness, which isn't altogether a bad thing. In fact, without it, this film would be much less of a singular experience. For some reason, the cinematography oozes 60s smalltown america (it may have something to do with the bowling alley where Jerry lives), and as such, 60s music and archetypes flood the soundtrack and the script, adding some sort of faded nostalgia and relatable madness.

On the comedy factor, it's a little weak. If you're a big fan of black comedies (as in, really black comedies like 'Calvary') then you'll probably find much to laugh about. In a normal cinema situation, quite a few laughs will be yielded,  but this is only due to the atmosphere. For home viewing? A couple of awkward laughs, a few genuine comedy, but not much else. Indeed, for a film with much comedy marketing, the strength just isn't present for justification.

Where The Voices succeeds is in the off kilter story, the weirdness, and the genuine emotion displayed. For a start, the whole tale is unique. In an age of H
ollywood remakes and boring blockbusters, the voices provides some alternative entertainment. Not only that, but it's strange, and if you enjoy your cult movies (like I do), then this ones for you. In fact, this film is worth it purely for the ending and the end credits sequence (hint, it involves Jesus and the jitterbug). As for emotion, Reynolds treads the knife edge brilliantly. One moment, he's cute and innocent, the next he's a savage killer full of rage, but he's never less than likable (and hence Satrapi can never be accused of discriminating against mental illness).

All in all, The Voices provides a weird, wonderful, and intriguing tale with an incredible performance from Reynolds. Just don't expect too many laughs.
The Voices gets 4 stars!

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