The Voices
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The Voices

Many cases actors try to avoid being typecast. By being overly associated with one type of character such an overtone can potentially severely restrict the scope of the talent. There are cases when such a strong link to a certain personality type can afford them the opportunity truly mastered the subtle nuances of the archetype. The film consideration here, ‘The Voices’, starring Ryan Reynolds provides an example of this hypothesis. While Mr. Reynolds has successfully appeared in a wide variety of roles running the gamut from psychological thrillers such as ‘Buried ‘to romantic comedies such as ‘The Proposal’. Reynolds has even undertaken superhero roles in both the DC and Marvel universes, ‘Green Lenten’ and ‘Deadpool’, respectfully. The character traits that any casting director can be certain of in hiring Mr. Reynolds, they are going to receive exceptionally quirky interpretation of the character. He naturally projects the persona of a cocky young man, likable and intelligent but always with an undeniable edge to him. I noticed this about him watching one of his earlier endeavors, a little sitcom called ‘Two Guys, a Girl in a Pizza Place’. It is really unfair to dismiss an actor’s work in a situational, even if it does have a name that readily invokes very foolish images. By this point in his career Ryan Reynolds has assumed so many variations of eccentricity that it not only comes perfectly naturally to him but the audience finds itself predisposed to accepting whatever outlandish premise the film might have. In the film on the review here, Reynolds portrays a young man with a crush on one of his fellow office workers. From there the movie makes an imaginative twist on more the oldest means used in movies; and decisive person with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other just substitutes oddly loquacious animal specifically a dog and cat.

Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds) is generally able to maintain a positive attitude towards life. Unfortunately, he is afflicted with a psychological disorder that manifests itself by Jerry experiencing hallucinations on a fairly routine basis. The disorder nominally under control, at least of the point he is able to live independently and hold down a steady job. The story doesn’t require much time during the set up before the quirks we know will be there begin to show up. Jerry lives in an apartment above a bowling alley. The constant noise would seem to be distracting but in a in a very real way Jerry can find a modicum of comfort in the noise. He also works in Milton Bathtub Factory. There is an odd sense of comedy surrounding such a vocation. It’s one of those objects to come into almost every home, we know that produced we just don’t think about where or how. Most common form that is hallucinations manifest is as a dog named Bosco pushing his self-gratifying side, consistently advising Jerry to make the burst possible decisions and the distinctively Scottish Mr. Whiskers a cat, who is the constant source of trouble with advised that is always morally and legally dubious. Highlighting the point that there are in his imagination all animal voices is provided by Mr. Reynolds himself. For some reason in movies such as this that has to be some rational reason for a nice guy to begin acting like a psychopath. Is a human need to know the course of things that are bad in a means to convince yourself that it could never happen to you. This plot contrivance is neatly arranged by Jerry’s inconsistency in taking his psychotropic medication. When combined with starting a new job and his boss giving him the added responsibility of organizing the company barbecue forcing him to work closely with the lovely Fiona.

Jerry’s condition has become a significant problem in his life resulting in a court appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver) despite her efforts hallucinations continue unabated. Jerry is just beginning his work at the bathtub factory but he finds himself attracted to a very beautiful young woman working in accounting, Fiona (Gemma Arterton) she agrees but the when the time for the date arrives Fiona stands him up in favor of going to a party with her friends. Later, Fiona is unable to get a ride home and Jerry, who is been driving around and happens to find Fiona hitch hiking. Fiona has been the source of many discussions with Bosco and Mr. Whiskers as Joey starts to envision Fiona is the incarnation of an angel. In the course of the ride Jerry accidentally hit the deer. When he gets out of the car to check on the creature it bakes him to end the pain and kill him. Obligingly Jerry sits the deer’s throat, and action that freaks out Fiona flees headlong into the woods. Jerry catches up with her and tries to apologize for his actions but winds up accidentally stabbing her to death.

When he returns home Bosco was trying to convince him to go to the police to do the right thing while Mr. Whiskers assures him that there’s nothing at all wrong with murder but it would be prudent to dispose of the body. Jerry retrieves the corpse bringing it home to dismember. It does seem as though despite his modest living arrangements, Jerry has seen the Showtime series ‘Dexter’, as he need the packages the body parts in a series of plastic boxes. He then places the head inside his fridge. Although it is predictable that the head should not always begin speaking to him but forgive him, the director, Marjane Satrapi and screenwriter, Michael R. Perry each possess a sense of dark comedy that allows them to place a refreshingly funny spin on how it unfolds. There is an undeniable synergy between the two that infuses the story synergistically to something I admittedly had not expected after reading the synopsis of the story.

In 2008 Ms. Satrapi had been nominated for an Academy award in the category of best animated feature film, Persepolis. The judicious use of animation allows for an ideal indicator of Jerry’s mental state. While enamored with Fiona birds fly about her head in the world is normal rainbows and happiness. The almost surrealistic aspects of this film are greatly reinforced by the uniform of the bakery, a bright pink jumpsuit. Mr. Perry’s list of credits explains his mastery of such a macabre story. He was a contributor to the second Paranormal Activity movie but most of his writing has been done in television. Even there will frequently quite dark including ‘Millennium’, ‘the Dead Zone’ and ‘American Gothic’. Having the directors and screenwriters experience apparently so diametrically opposed might appear to be affected that would be difficult to reconcile. However, in this instance not only did this team work exceptionally well together particularly in establishing the dichotomy between a benevolent dog in a psychopathic cat. There might’ve been a potential to allow the storage become bit bogged down by attempting to insert some social significance into the film. Fortunately anything remotely to do with the struggle your face between her good and evil sides is tossed away in favor of deliciously dark entertainment. Admittedly this movie may not be for every taste but if you are searching for something different that is tightly written stylistically directed and impeccably performed than this might just be the film for you.

bullet"The Voices": From Fridge to Frame
bulletVFX: The Making of Bosco & Mr. Whiskers
bulletVFX: Comparison Showreel
bulletThe Voices of Ryan Reynolds
bulletDeleted Scenes
bulletExtended Scenes
bulletAnimatics
bulletCast & Costume Sketch Gallery

Posted 07/31/2015

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