The Voices

the-voices-movie

Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds) lives in a Technicolor dreamworld. He has a menial warehouse job where he wears full pink coveralls and spends the day lifting boxes of undisclosed items. He’s the socially awkward but sweet outsider. The type of person who couldn’t hurt a fly. But that’s looking at Jerry with rose-coloured glasses and ignoring the dark signs lurking beneath his simple exterior. Just ask his two pets for the truth – the cat Mr. Whiskers and the dog Bosco. They know Jerry well. So well, in fact, that they speak to him.

You see, Jerry has an undisclosed mental illness that he hides from his co-workers and leads him to well…some unwholesome activities. Think about Norman Bates, and imagine a film from his perspective. That’s the pitch for The Voices.

Despite the dark subject matter, The Voices plays out like a comedy. Mr. Whiskers is a foulmouthed cat with a Scottish accent that constantly berates and belittles Jerry. There’s something innately funny about a little cat dropping F-bombs, even if the joke wore a little thin after the fifth or sixth expletive-laden tirade. Bosco, on the other hand, is a sweet and slow Southerner. He praises Jerry’s efforts at being a “good boy” and tries to steer him away from the darker paths Mr. Whiskers attempts to lead him down. Both Mr. Whiskers and Bosco are voiced by an unrecognizable Ryan Reynolds (to stick with the theme that these voices are just in Jerry’s head) proving that he’s got some voice work chops in case the whole A-lister path doesn’t work out.

The Voices is a solid movie, albeit a slightly forgettable one. It’s nice to see Ryan Reynolds playing against type and intriguing to see a film from the psychotic killer’s perspective, but the film never goes beyond the concept. It’s summed up in one line: cat and dog talk to guy, guy kills someone, rinse and repeat. The film flirts a bit with unreliable narration, which I enjoyed, but I wish they went further with the idea rather than making it literally window dressing. Jerry’s arc is a straight line, when there should have a been a shift from seemingly nice guy to deranged nutcase. The film tries something different, but it doesn’t quite get there.

Grade: B 

Side note: You won’t believe the absurdity of the last scene before the credits. It’s great.

 

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