The Voices Blu-ray Review
If you like your comedies dark as they can be, have I got a comedy for you. THE VOICES revels in its darkest. It is one strange little film that also veers into thriller and psychological drama territory. You never know where it will turn and that’s the beauty of this work.
Ryan Reynolds stars as Charlie, a lowly factory worker in the small town of Milton. He seems like a likable sort, but he has some serious baggage. We see early on that he goes to a psychotherapist and he has to take pills so he doesn’t hear voices. The pills though force him to face the reality of his life. That is something that many people can’t face. Charlie is an eager guy. He wants to be liked and respected. When he gets assigned a job for the office party, he is overjoyed by the prospect. At the planning for this party, Charlie meets Fiona (the luminous Gemma Arterton) the office hottie who works in accounting. He is smitten right away. She has no idea how to deal with him. There is an oddness to his behavior that is hard to miss.
At home, Charlie is not taking his pills. Therefore he can hear his dog Bosco and cat Mr. Whiskers talk to him (all the voices were voiced by Reynolds). Bosco is the good side of him, the angel if it were. He talks in a slow Southern older gentleman type of way. Mr. Whiskers is the flip side. He is his dark side. He has a Scottish accent for that voice. They fight for his mind and what he does.
Charlie asks Fiona out on a date. She somewhat agrees to meet him at a Chinese restaurant. It is one of those noncommittal things that people do and yet the other person thinks they have agreed to it. Fiona stands up Charlie and doesn’t even call him to break it off. By chance they meet on the road when her car breaks down. This leads to Charlie accidentally killing her. The details of this encounter, I will leave for your discovery. Charlie cuts up the body in various pieces and leaves the head in the refrigerator. The head starts talking to him as well. So he has three voices pulling at his sanity.
Soon after these events, Charlie starts dating Lisa (Anna Kendrick). She also works in the accounting department and is more of Charlie’s speed. She brings out of him the ability to confront his troubled past with his mother and stepfather.
Director Marjane Satrapi and Screenwriter Michael R. Perry have created quite a feast to munch on. Satrapi is also a graphic novelist and illustrator. She knows how to use visuals in interesting ways. For instance Satrapi doesn’t show Charlie cutting up the body, but you see blood streaming down a cabinet. That gives you all you need in what is occurring. I also liked how she made his pets talk. It doesn’t look fake or like a special effect. Perry’s screenplay does veer quite a bit from comedy to thriller at times, even in the same scene. I will say that the movie is funnier in the first half and then it gets darker as we go along. Charlie is a schizophrenic and we are taken inside his world. It can be frightening and funny.
Ryan Reynolds does a superb job in this role. This guy is a killer, but you still think he is a good guy. There is a lot of humanity in him. People will most certainly relate to him trying desperately to fit in and be liked. It is a tricky part to pull off and Reynolds does it with such finesse. He can be smiling one second and then really terrifying the next.
THE VOICES may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Those willing to take the plunge, it is well worth it.
Video: The various colors employed by the director really do stand out. They pop on the screen.
Audio: The sound is solid throughout.
The Voices: From Fridge to Frame (16:54): The actors and filmmakers discuss the film at length. The visual effects are touched upon here.
VFX: The Making of Bosco & Mr. Whiskers (6:34): The visual effects of the two pets are gone into more in depth. There is some material that is repeated here that was discussed in the previous feature.
VFX: Comparison Showreel (2:55): You get to see the scenes without the special effects and where the effects were used.
The Voices of Ryan Reynolds (4:51): This is a segment where we peak in on Reynolds trying out the voices. The director is off screen given him direction of how she wants it.
Deleted Scenes (12:10): There are eight scenes in all. It was probably wise to cut these scenes. They would have changed the dynamic and tone of the film. You have a scene with Charlie and Fiona that would have shown that relationship in a different light. There are other scenes that are just filler and not needed.
Cast and Costume Sketch Gallery: You see the notes at what they are looking for in casting the characters. Some of these notes are delightfully un-PC. You also see some of the costumes that they had in mind for the film.
Extended Scenes (4:24): There are only two of these. They involve the forklift ballet and Fiona’s stabbing. It was smart to cut these down because they just go on too long here.
Animatics (19:59): The sketches and storyboards are shown with alternate voices thrown in.