The Voices

The Voices is a 2014 film from Iranian director Marjane Satrapi, who also directed Persepolis. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as Jerry, a charming guy who works at a bath fixture warehouse. We see that Jerry has some sort of a troubled past that requires him to regularly see a psychologist and take medication. Despite his past, things seem to be looking up for Jerry as he attempts to date a female coworker, played by Gemma Arterton, while at the same being pined for by Anna Kendrick. To the audience things seem to be looking up for Jerry; that is, until his pets start talking to him.voices2What unfolds is a gripping drama/comedy/horror film about mental illness. I really don't want to give too much away, but suffice it to say that things get complicated quickly. Reynolds gives a truly spectacular performance; going from charming to terrifying on a dime. He also always felt believable to me and helps ground the more surreal elements of the movie. While everyone on the cast is great, the film really hinges on Reynolds to the point that he even recorded himself doing different accents to provide to voices for Jerry's dog Bosco and his cat Mr. Whiskers.voices1I'm going to do some very light spoilers in this section so be warned. The film uses the audience's awareness of talking pet movies and dark comedies against us as it can often create the illusion that the film might  have a happy Hollywood ending, rather than things playing out as we know they probably would in reality. Fantasy vs. reality is always tough to pin down in the film and the cinematography and set design matches this perfectly as we often subtly switch from Jerry's perception of the world to reality.The script is also top notch, with the standout scenes being anytime Jerry has a discussion about morality with his pets. Bosco is the optimist and Mr. Whiskers is the pessimist; cliched positions for the dog and cat but it comes off as profound and archetypal rather than forced. There were moments where the film shocked me and other moments where I had to pause it and take a break because things were so tense.Bottom line: I can't recommend this movie enough. It's on Netflix!