From the ridiculous, to the gruesome, and back again. The Voices may polarize audiences, but that’s all part of the charm. Best described as a dark comedy, it treads the line brilliantly between tension and absurdity. And it treads this line without fear, giving us the best Ryan Reynolds movie to date. Though, let’s be honest, that hardly qualifies as praise…
Set in the small town of Milton, the film follows Jerry, a schizophrenic who works in the local bathtub factory. Unfortunately, Jerry hasn’t been taking his medication, and as a result he believes his pets are talking to him. They take the form of good and evil, the dark recesses of Jerry’s mind battling against the good natured side. His dog Bosco wants Jerry to do good, while Mr. Whiskers the cat wants the opposite. The complete opposite it turns out.
The tone flicks between light-hearted comedy to gruesome horror rather casually. Perhaps some of the jokes fail to land, and the jumbled storyline may not work for some, but there are flashback scenes which would unnerve even the seasoned horror fan. And the constant barrage of shocking-pink outfits reflect the mood surprisingly well. The Voices does a lot more right, than wrong.
It’s not often a reviewer gets to say this, but the star of the show is the cat, Mr. Whiskers. Both he and Bosco are voiced by Reynolds, and although a talking cat with a dodgy Scottish accent may jar at first, you soon warm to the psychopathic feline. The scenes showing Jerry’s relationship with his pets can be genuinely heart-warming and strangely thought-provoking at times.
Playing the three main roles is a job that Reynolds has seemingly embraced, and he gives a stellar performance. Yes, the ‘sweet, but dim’ character is one he’s well accustomed to, but that doesn’t prevent it from being impressive. He’s joined by Anna Kendrick who plays shy sweetheart Lisa, and the English “office hottie” Fiona played by Gemma Arterton. They work their roles well, but in a film like this there’s no need for them to do anything else.
The Voices doesn’t pretend to know everything about schizophrenia either. A fact shown by its ludicrous portrayal of the illness. There has been some criticism for this, and it’s a shame because it doesn’t mean to offend – at least in that sense. In fact, deep down there is a debate about the nature of reality we choose to see, and the reality that we try and shut ourselves away from – but is that giving the film too much credit?
Overall, it will keep you hooked throughout. Provided you strap yourself in and let it take you on the barmy ride it is, you won’t be disappointed.