Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, Ella Smith, Paul Chahidi, Stanley Townsend, Adi Shankar, Sam Spruell, Valerie Koch, Gulliver McGrath, Paul Brightwell
Written by: Michael R. Perry
Directed by: Marjane Satrapi
MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, and for language including sexual references
Running Time: 103
Date: 02/06/2015

The Voices (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Animal Collective

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Iranian-born Marjane Satrapi published her own unique life story in the comic book Persepolis, made it into an animated feature, and followed it up with the big-hearted tragic romance Chicken with Plums; all of these works deal in unrealistic situations but are rooted in genuine, powerful emotions. The Voices stays true to this path.

Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds) is a nice guy who works in packing and shipping in a fixtures and faucets company. Unfortunately, he has lived through a troubled childhood and has been seeing a therapist (Jacki Weaver), but has not been taking his anti-psychotic medication. So his nasty cat, Mr. Whiskers, and his loyal dog, Bosco (both voiced by Reynolds), speak to him on a regular basis.

While attempting to date the office beauty, Fiona (Gemma Arterton), Jerry accidentally kills her. Fearing how it would look to the police, he cuts up the body and keeps its head in the freezer. Things get even more complicated when another attractive co-worker, Lisa (Anna Kendrick), begins to show an interest in Jerry.

The movie is quite a bit more vulgar than one might expect, with a Grand Guignol use of blood and gore, as well as the cat's salty language (spoken in a Scottish brogue). However, thanks to Satrapi's understanding touch and Ryan Reynolds' warm, funny performance, the character's aching loneliness and regret feels real, and his occasional little victories and connections are moments of beauty. (It was a nice touch for Reynolds to provide all the animal voices, including a deer and a sock bunny).

Satrapi's visual touches, like the pink of the warehouse, and Jerry's bowling alley home (with its alternate fantasy-reality decorating), are both funny and melancholy.

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