The Voices proves to be a Ryan Reynolds-vehicle of startling proportions. Sure, he has done funny (The Proposal), intense (Buried), animal voices (Turbo), and violent (Smokin’ Aces), but here, he’s able to do all of the above. Reynolds’ Jerry Hickfang is a schizophrenic factory worker whose animals vocally speak to him (his perspective), with advice coming from his angelic Boxer, Bosco, and his demonic cat, Mr. Whiskers. Characterization of cats and dogs has never seemed so perverse or spot-on!
When Jerry stabs his dream girl, Fiona (Gemma Arterton), to death, it sets off a series of violent-themed events that even his court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Warren (Jackie Weaver), can’t sift through. [Seriously, it’s scary when Weaver is the ‘normal’ one given her Animal Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook appearances.] But Fiona’s death leads to more interaction with others, like her office mates, Lisa (Anna Kendrick) and Alison (Emma Smith), and the cycle is accelerating.
Overall, it’s captivating to watch Reynolds, and not in a “Green Lantern is going down in flames kind of way.” He’s incredibly earnest as the dippy schizophrenic, but he also carries himself in a way that we think there might be going on than there appears. He seems smarter in some ways than those around him, even while he’s carving up a body and listening to his pets’ advice. Is this Psycho or Dr. Doolittle or some strange combination?
Written by Michael R. Perry (co-writer of Paranormal Activity 2) and directed by Persepolis writer/director Marjane Satrapi, the film explores childhood abuse and the mistreatment of those with mental illness, all camped out in the middle of a dramedy horror romance. It seems worth recommending to those who like Donnie Darko or Bernie, with such a strong streak of dark humor that makes a talking decapitated head seem like it could be funny. It’s not a Valentine’s Day film for sure, at least if you like your date, but the end result is that we get a full dose of Reynolds – sure to delight his fans here and north of us, too. Of course, a singing Jesus takes this one into a whole new territory — even Dogma didn’t focus on song and dance. rating: rainy day it