AuthorMay 29, 2016
February 6, 2015
Michael R. Perry
Ryan Reynolds as Jerry
Ryan Reynolds as Jerry
Gemma Arterton as Fiona
Anna Kendrick as Lisa
While Ryan Reynolds is generally recognized as a goofball comedian with good looks, he has proven, over the years, that he’s capable of stretching the confines of his personal wheelhouse. He can do a little bit of everything, and for the most part, in the case of The Voices, he’s forced to dig deep into his tool belt. Now, don’t get it confused, the film is most certainly heavily laden with jokes, but this isn’t Reynolds’ typical brand of humor, and there’s a whole hell of a lot of other emotions in which the man is called upon to properly project. In truth, The Voices is actually a very, very dark film, and at times, Reynolds most certainly travels to grim areas of discomfort.
The story focuses on Reynolds’ character Jerry, a man with a horrifying past that’s left him mentally shattered. So much so in fact, that he comes across as borderline retarded. But he’s trying. He’s trying hard. He’s got a job that he does well, he’s got his own place and he’s got a desire to live life as most “normal” human beings do. But when he stops taking medication prescribed by his therapist, the normalcy becomes a bit shaky. When he musters the courage to ask one of his co-workers (Fiona, played by the beautiful Gemma Arterton) out, his problems only escalate. She initially agrees to go out with him, but then cruelly brushes him off, skipping their date. And it eats at the man, something fierce. That anger brews, Jerry continues to skip his medicine and before we know it, his pets – a cat named Mr. Whiskers and a dog named Bosco – have helped encourage to end the woman’s life. And he does. Furthermore, he brings her home and dismembers her, keeping the pieces of her body stored in his home, including her still-untouched head, which he stores in his refrigerator. Hiding his secret becomes a new challenge for Jerry, and he doesn’t handle it well, which only leads to more dismembered bodies… and more heads in the fridge.
Michael R. Perry’s script is well-assembled, and it really puts Reynolds in a position to test himself as a performer. The ebb and flow of the story are quite compelling, and while the violence can be a bit brutal, the humor is also quite effective. It’s quirky and strange, but good old Van Wilder pulls it off pretty damn well. The fact that this movie is really about the inner workings of a man’s mind rather than the call for this typically fit gent to take his shirt off is a welcomed change of pace. And it seems as though Reynolds himself enjoys the shift quite a bit. He looks rather comfortable portraying Jerry (after you see it that may strike you as an odd statement, as the character Jerry, is never very comfortable himself) and he gets some strong on screen support from Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver.
Although it would have been pleasing to see things get a bit more gruesome throughout the picture, it’s hard to complain about the savagery we do get. This seemingly innocent, kind of lovable guy dismembers bodies, for goodness sakes. His constant discussions with his pets are pretty damn humorous and at times, extremely enlightening. It’s a bit like getting an inside look at a true psychopath. And whether you can buy this with ease or not, Reynolds can certainly pull off psychopath. In regards to the aesthetics and the chemistry of the ensemble, there really isn’t much to complain about.
The Voices could have moved at a stealthier pace. At 103 minutes runtime, it could have benefited from a 10-15 minute chop, as there are just a few sequences that feel less than necessary. Having said that, it’s not a boring film by any means. It is entertaining, it is enlightening, it is chilling and, again, it does afford Ryan Reynolds a chance to show up and do a job that he’s not entirely seasoned at. This isn’t the man’s norm, and it could prove to be a standout on his ledger as time passes. There should be more than enough laughs to keep comedy hounds happy, and just enough blood to sate the appetite of the disturbed. Whether it’s your personal kind of movie remains to be seen, but it’s most definitely worth at least a single viewing.
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