TIFF 2014 Review: The Voices
Being off your meds can make for quite the vibrant world if you’re Jerry (Ryan Reynolds), a factory worker suffering from schizophrenia, manifested through his talking cat and dog. On the surface, Jerry is a pleasant and attractive man, who likes his co-worker Fiona (Gemma Arterton) and tries to take her out for dinner. The date goes horribly wrong, and convinced by his evil cat that the desire to kill is the most joyous experience that Jerry could have, the following events get even crazier.
Told through visionary storyteller and director Marjane Satrapi’s twisted mind, The Voices is a horror comedy that is kind of like a quirkier version of American Psycho. We view the world through Jerry’s perspective which makes even the most grotesque situations seemingly endearing. Whenever we get an insight into any of the other character’s views of Jerry’s world, including Lisa (Anna Kendrick) a girl who falls in love with him, or his psychotherapist (Jacki Weaver), we quickly see that the reality of Jerry’s situation is gloomier than it appears. Ryan Reynolds gives a fascinating performance as he vibrantly captures the naivety of Jerry, making him an innocent character in a messed up situation. You never see him as the villain that he can be, and instead it is Jerry that is the victim of a gruelling past.
The Voices is hilarious, fun, quirky and sweet, while still balancing the horrific and startling scenario that it places us in. It finds a balance between its light and dark sides, and makes for a unique and enjoyable viewing experience, leading up to one of the best closing scenes in recent memory. This is not a film for the faint of heart, as it provides a skewed perspective of a horrifying problem. Handled with grace and humour by Marjane Satrapi, this is definitely a refreshing take on the outcomes of mental illness and crime.