The Voices is about the socially awkward and highly delusional Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) who's been released from jail under (incompetent) psychiatric care following a particularly gruesome and traumatic experience he went through as a child. Jerry gets a menial job working for Milton, a company that specializes in producing bathtubs, and he sets about trying to start his life over. However 'the voices' that take the form of a benevolent dog and a murderous cat (both voiced by Ryan Reynolds) act as the good and bad angels that perpetually live on his shoulders. The dog's trying to keep Jerry in check and the cat's constantly trying to push Jerry into wickedness. As Jerry develops an infatuation with Fiona (Gemma Arterton), things don't go according to plan and he ends up succumbing to the murderous little cat's influence. Jerry struggles to maintain his sanity as he spirals out of control and his fantasy world that he lives in begins to crumble down all around him.
The production values all feel good. The Voices looks surprisingly good with a vibrant visual palette. It's well shot and it's well edited with a sense of twisted fun and tragedy throughout it. There were definitely some inspired creative and technical moments in the movie. The vibe of The Voices switches effortlessly between being pleasant and innocent to harrowing and disturbing in an instant. The murder of Fiona came about somewhat unexpectedly, but it was incredibly brutal. I was shocked at how graphic it was and how much emotion there was in that scene. The murder of Fiona isn't a spoiler either, so take that up with the marketing department.
The more that The Voices went on though, the more I realized that it wasn't exactly a comedy, at least as it was advertised. The comedic elements are undeniably there, more so in the start. But it gets increasingly darker and more macabre as it goes on, with most of the comedy coming from the supportive dog Bosco and the sadistic cat Mr Whiskers. The more you learn about Jerry, the more you get to see that he's a profoundly broken and mentally unstable man who's struggling to conform to some sort of normalcy in his life. Jerry relishes the good days and is terrified of the bad days, constantly struggling to control his inner-demons.
The Voices really is a one man show though as Ryan Reynolds carries almost the entire movie by himself. Portraying such a fractured and tortured man, Ryan Reynolds has to show tremendous rage as his mindset swings from one extreme to another. The Voices provides an interesting look at what I think is some sort of schizophrenia. We see things like why Jerry refuses to take his medicine, because if he does, it forces him to come back to reality, which is a much more unpleasant place than the one he's used to. When he's off his medicine Jerry lives in his own world, with his own friends, but when he's on his medicine, the ugly reality of his world and his choices comes through. There's still a sense of immaturity coming from Jerry, maybe because he's spent most of life in jail. Jerry comes off to me as what Dexter would have been like if his father hadn't 'guided him' when he was younger. There's a strong undercurrent of pathos and tragedy to Jerry.
The big question that I felt like The Voices was asking us is, 'Can you empathize with a serial killer?' I might even take that further and say, 'Can you excuse a serial killer's actions because of his or her mental capacity?' was the question being explored. Jerry was obviously a severely unbalanced individual (aren't all serial killers?) but he was also a functioning adult, to some degree. Point is, he knew what he was doing was wrong, and he did it anyway. Are we to believe that serial killers have no freewill of their own? Many people have many different desires, but it's our decision to act, or to not act on them that define us. Jerry wanted to be a likable guy, but he made his decisions. Maybe I'm digging too deep here, I don't know. But the humor is pitch black and the dialogue is sometimes hilarious, but it surely wont be for everyone. I quite liked it though, even if the ending was one of the most ridiculously bizarre I've seen in a while. The Voices is sardonic, sad and even kinda depressing. It's a weird combination of elements that come together to make something unexpectedly morbid, deep and mordant.
Written by - The Sentry - 15/08/2016