Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Voices (2014) - Review

The Voices (2014)
D: Marjane Satrapi
C: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, Ella Smith, Paul Chahidi, Stanley Townsend

Plot Synopsis: Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) 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 (Gemma Arterton). 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.

REVIEW: As Jerry, an attractive doofus who suffers from mental issues that results in him murdering women, Ryan Reynolds ends up playing Ryan Reynolds. What I mean by that is, that Ryan Reynolds has such a distinct public persona, that it's hard to imagine him as the character at hand and (in the end) Reynolds always comes across as playing a version of himself. Now, mind you, in certain films, that has worked really well. A good example of a film benefiting from Ryan Reynolds playing Ryan Reynolds is Blade: Trinity, a film that got a shot of adrenaline from his presence. The result here, though, is that the overall scenario that The Voices is trying to paint is never fully convincing, because I never bought into the idea of Ryan Reynolds as Jerry and since Reynolds' character is the whole film, there isn't anything else left to grasp onto.

It's easy to sit here, at my labtop, and want to blame Ryan Reynolds for the film's shortcomings, but in all honesty, it probably isn't his fault. He's simply miscast and whoever hired Reynolds probably hired him to deliver on his trademark public persona. Whoever cast Reynolds, that's who's to blame. Having said all of that, I actually think the writing is quite inspired and that the film has a distinct look to it. If the role of Jerry had been cast with an actor who played the material in a more straight forward manner, this could have been a darkly comic fable in the vein of Heathers.

As is, The Voices is a watchable film. You'll probably chuckle here & there, you won't be bored by it and Ryan Reynolds has the kind of likability that can help carry a film, but this wasn't a film about a likable character. This was a satire on the inadequacies that plague the mental health field that result in a serial killer being released upon the unsuspecting public. That message gets lost in Ryan Reynolds' persona and appealing screen presence which left me with a film that was digestible, but not particularly filling. [R] 103 minutes.

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