UK Release Date: 13th July 2015
Runtime: 103 minutes
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Writer: Michael R Perry
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver
Synopsis: When he stops taking his medication, a man hears his cat and dog talk to him as he gets sucked into an evil world.
Despite its blockbuster potential, 2015 has been a slightly disappointing year for cinema. However, there was a joyous surprise package in the shape of Marjane Satrapi’s offbeat flick The Voices, which showed a whole new side of Ryan Reynolds whilst treading the thin line between horror and comedy.
The Voices is now available on Blu-ray in the UK, courtesy of Arrow Films.
Jerry (Reynolds) is a chirpy young man, but is constantly urged by his therapist (Jacki Weaver) to take his medication. However, without the pills, he hears the voices of his cynical, malevolent cat and loving, kind-hearted dog. As he begins a budding relationship with co-worker Fiona (Gemma Arterton), their voices start to try to influence his actions.
| "I had lots of friends. I was the office hottie. Now I’m a severed head in a fridge. Sucks to be me."
From the opening moments of The Voices, it’s clearly a film that doesn’t want to allow itself to easily fit into a single genre box. Throughout the story, there are elements of quirky comedy, brutal horror and psychological thriller butting heads. Somewhere in the middle of that insane Venn Diagram lies the perfect tonal balancing act that drives the film.
The unique visual style of The Voices – so beautifully rendered on this Blu-ray release – helps with this difficult tone. Satrapi is equally comfortable depicting Jerry’s bright, pastel-coloured wonderland and the blood-soaked hellhole that is his actual life. This visual flip-flop enables the film to change the audience’s position on Jerry whenever it feels like it. When we see the world as Jerry sees it, we feel sympathy for him. However, when Satrapi allows the facade to slip, we see that Jerry is actually pretty messed up.
Ryan Reynolds also does a great job of framing the audience perception of his character. His relentlessly sunny perspective on life colours everything we see on screen, including Arterton and Anna Kendrick’s characters, who change in front of our eyes as Reynolds’ perspective on them alters. Arterton and Kendrick have real fun with their roles, particularly the former as she becomes comically English in Jerry’s naive brain.
The same is true of the character’s pets in The Voices, who go from cutesy comic creations to concerning manipulators as Jerry allows them to influence him further. One brief scene, in which we see Jerry performing the voices of the animals, the true nature of his mental issues is revealed in stark, shocking fashion. It’s a bracing moment of tragedy in a film that knows just when to press emotional buttons.
| "I wish I could help you Jerry, but I’m just a fish."
The beauty of The Voices is in its status as a film that matures and develops as you think about it in the days and weeks after the credits roll. On the face of it, it’s a quirky confection of indie cinema, but time reveals it as a mature and heart-breaking meditation on mental illness and the way human beings sugar coat reality to make life easier.
The package of features is largely messy and unimpressive, but it does include some cool backstage footage of the fridge scenes and some intriguing cast interviews. There’s also a scare prank, done for publicity.
Pop or Poop?
A delightful treat in the midst of a year of franchise gunk, The Voices is an excellent film that deserves to gain a whole new audience on Blu-ray.
The trio of central performances are spot on, but it’s Reynolds who covers himself in the most glory here, showcasing previously unseen range and nuance.
Blu-ray enhances Satrapi’s inventive visuals and Perry’s script yields new detail on repeat viewing. It may not be the most slick genre picture, but The Voices packs oodles of charm.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.
The Voices is available on Blu-ray from today courtesy of Arrow Films.