Film Review: The Voices

By Jazmin Justo

The Voices directed by Marjane Satrapi and written by Michael R. Perry, is a psychological thriller about a schizophrenic man coping with the guilt of an accidental murder. Through dark humor, gruesome gore, and philosophical moments, the film is able to portray the protagonist state of mind; by showing the reality of his life with flashbacks and changing perspectives of his fantasy and reality. The movie begins by introducing the awkward protagonist, Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds), who works in a factory at the packing and shipping division. He develops a crush for the new co-worker Fiona (Gemma Arterton), an English woman who recently moved to America. As he tries to adjust to work and gain favor from his crush, his ambitions for a normal happy life are shattered by a gruesome plot twist. The film then begins to show his deteriorating state of mind as he seeks advice from his talking pets and human heads. The flashbacks also assist in understanding how his isolated childhood affected his outlook on life, which leads to yet another plot twist when he has a love affair with another co-worker. The film leaves the viewer emotionally stirred as they are torn between sympathizing for Jerry and the horrific reality of the situation.

The film does a great job using special effects to make the audience step into Jerry’s mind of how he envisions the world, while taking a step back to what is happening outside of his fantasy world. The film also uses cliché bloody gore, which is often seen in horror films, to a change of a beautiful serene world. The film’s dark humor also adds some relief in between the emotionally intense drama. This is often played by his pet cat that can leave the viewer confused of how to react to the situation. Also his pet cat Mr. Whiskers and pet dog, Bosco played the role of a divided consciousness, despite their opposing opinions, they are agreeable by the audience. The actors themselves also did a magnificent job in their performance by embracing their characters’ personalities, making the whole experience very emotional and surreal.

In addition, the director’s ability to work with a piece that she didn’t write is also noteworthy of her great talent in not only specializing in psychological films but also in her ability to engage the audience in a eccentric difficult scenario with a complex protagonist. The film overall takes a spin of the cliché heart wrenching horror films and adds a human touch to the seemingly psychotic Jerry, who is actually conflicted within. The film is thought provoking in various themes of morals, philosophy and social acceptance in a gut wrenching, humorous kind of way. For anyone who enjoys a horror, comedy, and the wonders of psychology, this film would be the best choice to watch with friends.

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