The Movie Waffler Blu-ray Review - <i>THE VOICES</i> | The Movie Waffler

Blu-ray Review - THE VOICES

A troubled factory worker is compelled to kill by a voice that appears to come from his cat.

Review by Jason Abbey

Directed by: Marjane Satrapi

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver

"A film that dances to its own tune is to be admired. It may fail more than it succeeds but at least it is trying something different, and it will find a small willing audience of curio seekers."

Here we are again with that old genre staple, shy factory worker Jerry (Reynolds) lusting after flighty, sultry British siren from accounts. Is she keeping Jerry at arm's length because she is nursing a broken heart? Or is she just a heartless user? Luckily anyone expecting a formulaic Reynolds rom com may be in for a shock, as due to convoluted events involving a flat battery, the mercy killing of a deer and the accidental stabbing and killing of his beloved due to an accident, we never find out. Oh and a talking cat and dog help guide Jerry in the finer points of bodily disposal (mainly the fridge and lots of Betterware).
Imagine Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer directed by Liberace and you may have some understanding of the approach the film takes. It's a polarising film that to some will be nigh on unwatchable to others embraced as a future cult classic ripe for rediscovery in 20 years time, following in the footsteps of such underground delights as Parents and the underrated Fido flesh ripping cannibalistic horrors more interested in bakelite and ersatz '50s decor than bloodletting.
The Voices takes a bold approach in juxtaposing the heightened visual palette of an in love and off his meds Jerry with the grim reality of what he has actually done, all adorned with animal shit and viscera, played for laughs initially with Reynolds doing some sub par Mike Myers voice work on his sadistic scottish cat Mr Whiskers and his gormless Southern dog Bosco (think a potty mouthed version of the Angel and Devil cartoon schtick so beloved of Tex Avery cartoons). When Jerry comes back to reality the problems start. There is a cruelty at work in the murders that is jarring and the Grand Guignol reality of his Ed Gein abode shows the reality that there is a sick puppy living here and his name isn’t Bosco. Jerry can’t deal with reality so retreats into the fairy tale world of his psychosis, but we do not have that luxury. Once we step into the grim reality, the return to Day-Glo hijinks stops working.
Reynolds does restrained work as Jerry dialling down his natural charisma, but if anything is too subtle, sympathetic and vulnerable. Whilst being just slightly off but never playing to the gallery, he almost gets swamped by the carefully crafted fantasy world on screen. This quietness allows him to let rip voicing his Bosco and Mr Whiskers, his Id running riot by turns cruel and dumb but diminishing in fun with each vicious and dopey utterance.
Arterton enjoys herself as Fiona the office eye candy and Anna Kendrick as Lisa as the girl from accounts who has taken a shine to Jerry is fine (I am still immune so far to the charms of Kendrick) if underused.
Marjane Satrapi did great work with the Oscar Nominated animation Persepolis, but this feels very much like an animated film, controlled and precise, each shot like a storyboard etched onto the screen. The exactitude and sterility of the visuals gives the film a slightly airless quality. When the film needs spontaneity and looseness, Satrapi delivers meticulously choreographed visuals. It looks great but it drains the film of both wit and horror, removing a sense of reality so it becomes almost like a Busby Berkeley production.
A film that dances to its own tune is to be admired though. It may fail more than it succeeds but at least it is trying something different, and it will find a small willing audience of curio seekers.
Picture quality and dts audio are what you would expect from a modern release but don’t always get. In terms of extras there is a mix of interviews with the cast in that distracting no discernible interviewee press kit way that never goes below the surface. An entirely pointless prank involving heads in a fridge at the cinema to promote the film that fails as both an extra and in its objective to make the victims jump in a satisfactory manner. Behind the scenes footage, Ryan Reynolds recording the voices of his pets. The obligatory deleted and extended scenes and some Animatics and you have a case of quantity over quantity.