Once upon a time, Ryan Reynolds was one of the most sought after leading men in film. A former People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” and the star of one of the funniest comedies ever made (I’m looking at you, WAITING) Ryan Reynolds has unfortunately spent the last five years acting in box office bombs and selecting some ill-advised roles. Ryan Reynolds is a very, very handsome man and it seems as though audiences have gotten so fixated on his appearance, that they’ve forgotten that he’s a talented actor. Well, THE VOICES is going to indefinitely change the way audiences view Reynolds. Critics and cinephiles all declared 2014 the year of the “McConaissance” in relation to the brilliance coming out of Matthew McConaughey, and 2015 is starting to look like the year of Reynolds.
Director Marjane Satrapi’s latest adventure, THE VOICES, is one of the most peculiar serial killer films of recent memory. Reynolds stars in this horror/comedy as Jerry, a well-meaning everyman hoping to sweep the girl of his dreams off her feet. Armed with dead eyes and a somewhat constant smile, Jerry refuses to take his medications and begins talking with his pets. Reynolds also voiced both Jerry’s cat, Mr. Whiskers (who has a Scottish accent) and his dog Bosco (who sounds like a southern bar fly). Watching Reynolds’ descent into madness through communication with animals was humorous, but only allows audiences to laugh long enough to realize how horrifying his downfall has become. Anna Kendrick, Gemma Arterton, and Jacki Weaver are all solid as the supporting players, but Reynolds is a dynamic force that is next to impossible to forget. It’s an uncomfortable film, but leaves a pretty fascinating impression.
It’s going to be difficult to box THE VOICES into one particular genre, but it can be assumed that’s what they were going for. It’s gruesome, nonsensical, captivating, and Reynolds has never been stronger. Everything about THE VOICES feels contradictory. The settings are brightly colored while the actions are dark and grisly. The humor is bleak and unforgiving while those telling the jokes are sweet and endearing. This constant push and pull makes for a bit of an exhausting watch, but Reynolds is selling every last frame of every second. Marjane Satrapi is not just a director, she’s also the author of graphic novels like PERSEPOLIS. Satrapi’s artistic eye creates an aesthetically powerful film, and manages to transform Middle America into a familiar, and yet unrecognizable world. Again, everything about THE VOICES feels contradictory, but that’s what makes it tick. You have to take the seriousness with the absurdity and believe them both to be equally true; otherwise, the film wouldn’t work. This is a weird film and definitely not palatable for the average filmgoer, but for those with a passion for fringe cinema, THE VOICES is a likely to be a new favorite.
THE VOICES is available now on VOD platforms.