Any time someone tells me Ryan “Ken-Doll” Reynolds has decided to do an indie movie I let out a little groan. That groan is saying, “Ry-dog, please, stick to the shirtless scenes and the superhero movies.” But last week my dad, a die-hard Reynolds fan since the early days of Blade Trinity, implores, begs, threatens and compels me to come watch The Voices. And so I go.
What happens next is an amazing mixture of Wes Anderson-esque production design, Scottish cats, and blood spatter left and right. In other words, The Voices is currently leading as my favourite film this year. The film follows Jerry, a young man recently released from psychiatric care, who just wants to be happy. Unfortunately, Jerry has a family history of schizophrenia, and must come home everyday from work to his pessimistic and abusive cat, ingeniously named Mr. Whiskers, and man’s best friend, Boscoe (both voiced by Reynolds himself). The two animals plague him with witty dialogue and murderous suggestions, which finally come to fruition completely by accident (watching Reynolds accidentally kill Gemma Arterton is cinematic gold). The film continues as he openly converses with these domesticated manifestations of his conscious, and is really trying to figure out if he is evil. It is basically the wackiest plot since Kingsman Secret Service.
Now, let’s just talk about Ry-dog for a minute here. I don’t know if it’s Blake Lively’s home cooking, or he is s just at that age, but this man is pulling a McConaughey. His performance in this film is fearless beyond compare. Jerry is timid, terrified and just really wants to be happy. But he is also entirely capable of the murders that unfold on screen, and you find yourself not sympathising with him at all. You can never quite figure out if Jerry really is who he seems to be, and find yourself separating him from his murderous conscious. He is an adorable, gorgeous psychopath, and the moments where you see Jerry alone in a room, doing all three voices with no cutaways to the animals, is entirely heart breaking. Reynold’s action figure looks only help, and build what is a pretty fantastic contrast in his character.
But what I loved most about this clearly insane, LSD ridden script is just how real it gets. Every now and then, when Jerry starts to take his medication, he sees his life for what it really is (his hoarding, his pet’s waste, the decaying bodies he holds onto) and makes the decision to stay off of them. In my opinion, despite its whimsy and folly, is a truly brilliant representation of mental disorder. It is so much more than the sum of its parts. That’s not to say it isn’t hilarious (please just watch the final credit sequence, I mean my god), but Director Marjane Satrapi uses the cinematic apparatus to get inside this man’s head. And nothing else compares.