The premise of ‘The Voices’ is that Ryan Reynolds’ character, Jerry, kills people because his pets tell him to do so. Now I don’t know about you, but that premise alone had me clamoring to see the film and now, having watched it, I wish I had never bothered.
Ryan Reynolds is absolutely great as the unstable and odd yet lovable Jerry and every scene with him left me feeling really uneasy and wary of this character before he had even done anything crazy or sinister. Even more impressive is that he also voiced Mr. Whiskers and Bosco, his pets, so a lot of scenes are him bouncing off of himself yet he plays it off very well and convincingly. Reynolds has made the character of Jerry believable and allowing the audience to genuinely believe that he is an accidental serial killer, which is very impressive. The rest of the cast all range from good to mediocre with no real stand outs, but that is to be expected because this is almost purely an acting reel for Reynolds.
The director, Marjane Satrapi most famously previously directed ‘Persepolis’ which happened to be based upon her life and while that was an animated film, you can clearly see some influences from her younger life and even in her directing style from that film carry over into this one. ‘The Voices’ is filled with so many wonderful and dynamic shots that certainly make it stand out than other comedies, you can tell that a lot of care has gone into all these shots and for me, it is what made the film watchable. The way Satrapi perfectly blends the fake world and real world scenes are great and flow very nicely without having a negative effect on the pacing of the film.
As well as having all these great and creative shots, the cinematography is gorgeous, mainly in the fake world but even in the real world there are a lot of shots that just look so good, which again is very rare for a modern comedy film but just adds to the overall enjoyment of the film.
The story was very barebones and formulaic despite its interesting premise, but the films biggest issue is that it simply wasn’t as funny as it thinks it is and it isn’t nearly as funny as it could have been. In fact the only time i laughed was when Mr. Whiskers, a ginger tom cat, had a witty comeback or a cruel one-liner, but besides that, for the most part i sat through the film with a straight face.
There was some great uses of practical effects too which is always nice when a director doesn’t just resort to CGI because it’s easier but instead takes care to shoot the practical effects in a particular way that while it doesn’t look real, it certainly looks better than a cartoon ever could. I was even impressed with how the cats and dogs mouths moved, it looked very well done and after the first scene with them, became natural to see them like that. It also helped that Mr. Whiskers was the only character with any funny lines.