Finally, after four days of seeing movies at the Sundance Film Festival, I have a movie I am obsessed with thinking about. I thought Boyhood and Obvious Child were really good, but The Voices is my movie. Yes, that scares me a little.
I root for Ryan Reynolds, and have since Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. Berg was the cool fast talker that I thought (or wished) I was way back when. I remember telling people to watch the show, and declaring that Reynolds would be huge. It's not totally rational, and if I give it a second's thought, I don't truly care if he succeeds in life. Then again, I'm the same guy who thought Luke Perry was going to be a movie star and The Fifth Element was just the start. The Voices is definitely Reynolds' best work and proves he is an actor, not just the product of what he and the studios are trying to create with films like Green Lantern, R.I.P.D. and Safe House.
The Voices is about a little man named Jerry in the little town of Milton who is desperately trying to hold his life together. He also hears voices. In the beginning Jerry is so sweet and mild it's easy to get sucked in to this awkward man's journey. He just wants to be liked, loved and move beyond his horrific past. Reynolds shows his range, and tosses aside the cocky bravado that most of his characters have had in the past.
SPOILER ALERT PARAGRAPH. OK, you've been warned. I highly recommend skipping this paragraph and going in fresh to the film. I won't spoil anything after this section. I believe The Voices is the best depiction of how a serial killer begins, and how he can see the world. The film is tremendously funny, and even more disturbing. We are right along with Jerry as his mind unravels, and we mainly see his world. That world consists of a talking cat and dog. Mr. Whiskers is evil, Bosco his dog is simple and loving. While some of the humor comes from Mr. Whiskers being Scottish, abusive and of course talking, a lot of the laughs come from how uncomfortable this film is at times. You are forced to laugh. You don't just see an evil man doing evil things; you truly see Jerry slip into mental darkness, wishing he would find his way, eventually realizing it might be too late.
The path The Voices takes is almost always surprising. It could zag when it zigs. Besides Reynolds' historically good performance, Gemma Arterton continues to do good work when given good material. Anna Kendrick is also wonderfully awkward, but in a completely different way from Reynolds. Marjane Satrapi is the same director who gave us Chicken with Plums and that's insane to me (not as insane as this movie). I can't remember much with Chicken, and I feel like I'll never forget my first time with The Voices. There is constant wonder and worry with this movie. The Voices is horrific and hilarious, sometimes at the exact same moment. This is the Reynolds I dreamed of when I was enjoying his sitcom antics 15 years ago.
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