Saturday, November 25, 2017
THE VOICES (2014)
Directed By: Marjane Satrapi
Written By: Michael R. Perry
Cinematography By: Maxime Alexandre
Editor: Stephane Roche
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, Adi Shankar
Jerry is that chipper guy clocking the nine-to-five at a bathtub factory, with the offbeat charm of anyone who could use a few friends. With the help of his court-appointed psychiatrist, he pursues his office crush. However, the relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn after she stands him up for a date. Guided by his evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog, Jerry must decide whether to keep striving for normalcy, or indulge in a much more sinister path.
This is a movie that succeeds despite itself. As it seems to exist on a level that seems more fanciful, fantastical and dreamlike that though dark seems to be powered by quirks.
The film creates a quality that fits director Marjane Satrapi’s style. As she colors the film in fantasy and has grim edges that makes the film feel as airy with a mood that contributes to an anything can happen vibe. That is downtrodden but feels more animated. She was a replacement for Director Mark Romanek (ONE HOUR PHOTO)
As we go through his delusions and psychosis where his pets seem to represent his rational side and delusional side.
She is an inspired choice as the director and usually love the ones she has directed. As she puts her personal stamp on it, which usually makes the films feel more memorable, but this film feels so scattered. That it seems to be missing a core.
The film reminds one of a film not as polished but similar by the name of LUCKY about a serial killer with a supposed talking dog who is the bad influence. Though that film could have easily been a TALES FROM THE CRYPT or TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE episode.
Ryan Reynolds is An actor who I appreciate for showing range and a sense of humor. Where once in a while you watch him take chances in his roles. I just wish he would sometimes pick better films. Where as he seems to be offered Better these days. Some of the films like this and THE NINES you can understand the allure of. This seemed like a film that had an initial story that was inspired, (after all it was a BLACK LIST script. Which is a list of the years most liked script) with a french artist director making their live action debut. It just seems the film that this could have been got lost somewhere along the way. Maybe by overthinking and trying too hard to set an off kilter version.
Even the so called normal characters dialogue and characters feels more like they are playing rather then acting or taking their characters seriously. This might actually be by design. Which would work more if there seemed to be a reason or added to the general strengths of the film. It just seems to through it off more.
As this is a dark comedy. All the characters here seem to be off or a bit slow. And it should be more disturbing but feels more like it is just different. As it struggles and strives to fit in to some kind of category in a mainstream way. Then again you wonder if it’s quirky for quirky sake. As the film feels like it could easily go to Tim Burton level but lacks the lightheartedness and innocence. As his films. Are more goth. This feels psychotic. As it does involve blood, dismemberment and murder. It’s supposed to, To a degree.
You really want to like this film. As one could easily be a fan of all involved but you might find yourself more disappointed than actually enjoying the film. Though some scenes are fun even cute and the film stays constantly inspired. As it stays artistic and widely reserved when it should in dark scenes that leads to a punchline and also an amazing visual.
Once the second act of the film begins and we learn of Ryan Reynolds characters past. The film gets hints of a more confused nature and how the banal yet quirky beginnings should feel pale next to the dark reality in which he lives in and is surrounded by.
It’s that really hard turn it takes once we realize in his delusions how everything is beautiful and how his reality is the true horror. Of course he would choose this sitcom-ish Cute world that is in his head. Over the ugly, scary and dirty one offered up under normalcy. That scene really sums up the film and makes you appreciate by witnessing the damage and fears. That feels like a revelation, That makes you wish the film kept up with it’s ideas like that.
It’s only during these telling scenes of his past. Does the film come full circle and shows the shocking difference and transitions that make you appreciate the film for what and how it tries to communicate to the audience more by challenging and revealing. Rather than talking down to them. The film rests in it’s nuances.
The film keeps up a light comedic tone. Even as it becomes much more serious in behavior and scenes.
Though it helps when we learn that the voices are indeed his own. Leading to more of a punch. Though might have been better served by voice actors to keep up the mystery. It seems more a logical decision to let Reynolds do the voice over. as he already knows the voices in his head should sound familiar.