|Directed by||Marjane Satrapi|
|Written by||Michael R. Perry|
|Music by||Olivier Bernet|
|Edited by||Stephanie Roche|
The Voices is a 2014 black comedy horror film. Directed by Marjane Satrapi and written by Michael R. Perry, the film stars Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver. It had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014. The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand on February 6, 2015, by Lionsgate. It received positive reviews from critics.
Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is an upbeat man who works at a bathtub factory, and lives in a modified apartment above a bowling alley with his dog, Bosco, and his cat, Mr. Whiskers. Jerry is a man with an innocent, almost childlike, demeanor and suffers from delusions and hallucinations that manifest in the form of his pets talking to him. Bosco often represents his good intentions while Mr. Whiskers represents his more violent nature. One day, his manager compliments his hard work and chooses him to help organize an employee barbecue, and he gladly accepts the opportunity to work with his workplace crush, an English woman named Fiona. The following day he asks her out on a date. She initially agrees, though with reluctance, but then stands him up to go to a karaoke party with two other girls who work with her in the accounting department at work, Lisa and Alison. After the party, Fiona's car won't start, leading her to flag down Jerry as he drives by. Fiona offers to take him out for a late dinner to make up for standing him up on the original date, but on the way, Jerry accidentally hits a stag which crashes through his windshield. Jerry's hallucinations show the deer crying out in pain and begging Jerry to kill it so he slits the deer's throat. Fiona, terrified, runs off into the woods. Jerry pursues her and accidentally stabs her. Apologizing for his actions, Jerry kills Fiona to end her pain.
Upon returning home, Bosco suggests he has to go to the police and confess, encouraging him in saying that he's a good man and won't be punished. On the other hand, Mr. Whiskers says there is no shame in killing, but insists Jerry needs to dispose of the body and refrain from going to the police or else he will be severely punished and locked away. Jerry collects Fiona's body from the forest, and returns home with it. He dismembers Fiona, placing her innards in numerous plastic boxes and her disembodied head inside his fridge. After this traumatic experience, his delusions increase with now having Fiona being able to talk to him. Her tone suggests she forgives him for his actions, but she insists he takes his medication to end his behavior. Jerry takes his pills, and experiences nightmares of his abusive past. When he wakes up during the night, he is groggy, but his hallucinations have ended; his pets no longer speak to him, his apartment is a complete mess with animal waste littering the floor, garbage piling up in bags and up against the walls of his apartment and blood all over his kitchen after cutting up Fiona's body and Fiona's head is cold and rotting. He throws away the pills in terror, and the next morning, his hallucinations resume and his happy life is back to 'normal'. Fiona tries to convince Jerry to kill someone else so that she has someone to talk to, but Jerry insists that he can't.
Jerry asks Lisa on a date. He develops feelings for her and takes her to his abandoned childhood home, where it is revealed his German mother had confessed to her insanity and was about to be taken away by the authorities when he was a child. When they arrived, she tried to slit her throat, but couldn't do it herself and so she begged Jerry to finish the job to end her suffering. The police had found Jerry standing over his dead mother with a piece of broken glass and he is committed instead. Jerry sobs in front of Lisa, who comforts him. They go back to her house and spend the night together. When Jerry returns home the next morning, he still feels pressured into killing someone else by Fiona and Mr. Whiskers, and seems unsure of what to do next.
Lisa finds out Jerry's address through accounting and delivers a gift to his house. When Jerry inadvertently locks himself out, he tries to get back in through the sky light, but Lisa manages to pick the door open using her hairpin. She wanders in and discovers the state of the apartment, as well as the covered head of Fiona, though she doesn't immediately recognize it beneath the coat covering it. Jerry sneaks up on her, upset that she trespassed into his home, but despite pressure from Mr. Whiskers, he refuses to kill her. Lisa sees for the first time the troubled, delusional man Jerry is, and, frightened, tries to run away, running to the bathroom to hide, and then into his bedroom. Jerry comes in, genuinely trying to apologize for scaring Lisa and she, feeling cornered, attempts to put up an act, insisting they can go back to normal and forget what happened in order to make him let her leave, but when she panics and tries to escape hurriedly, Jerry reacts instinctively, grabbing her by the arms to stop her and throwing her backwards back onto the bed and accidentally breaking her neck on the headboard. After she dies, Jerry cuts her body apart and places her head in the fridge, next to Fiona's. Other workers from accounting begin to realize Fiona and Lisa have gone missing. When Alison goes to Jerry's house to ask if he knows where they are, Jerry immediately kills and dismembers her.
Jerry confesses his killings to his counselor Dr. Warren. She tries to call the police, but he takes her hostage into the countryside and forces her to help him. She calms him down and shows understanding, which makes him feel better. Meanwhile, the other workers from accounting break into Jerry's home (as Bosco runs away) and discover the apartment's state as well as all the blood, and immediately retreat to call the police. Shortly after Jerry returns home, still holding Warren hostage, the police surround his house and prepare to move in. Jerry takes Mr. Whiskers into the bathroom and then flees down into the basement, breaking a gas pipe while doing so. After rescuing Dr. Warren, the police are knocked back from a huge explosion that was caused by the gas leak.
Down in the bowling alley, Jerry realizes the bowling alley is on fire and he is in grave danger. The voices of Bosco and Mr. Whiskers, no longer taking forms of belonging to a dog and cat no longer with him, speak to him in his own mind, Mr. Whiskers is insisting he get out of there and find another place to live, to hide, so that he may continue killing and feeling alive, and Bosco telling him that there is no place for him in life any longer and that he should let the fire "put him to sleep". Choosing to stay and end his own misery, he lies down and waits until he finally succumbs to the smoke. In a white void, Bosco and Mr. Whiskers confess that, despite their opposing beliefs, they did like each other, before going their separate ways. Jerry then appears with his parents, Fiona, Lisa and Alison, and he apologizes to the women for killing them. Just then Jesus appears, and they all dance and sing together, suggesting that Jerry has at last found peace and happiness in the afterlife.
- Ryan Reynolds as Jerry Hickfang and the voices of Bosco, Mr. Whiskers, The Deer and Bunny Monkey
- Gulliver McGrath as young Jerry
- Anna Kendrick as Lisa
- Gemma Arterton as Fiona
- Jacki Weaver as Dr. Warren
- Sam Spruell as Dave
- Adi Shankar as John
- Ella Smith as Alison
- Paul Chahidi as Dennis Kowalski
- Stanley Townsend as Sheriff Weinbacher
- Valerie Koch as Jerry's mother
- Paul Brightwell as Jerry's stepfather
- Alessa Kordeck as Sheryl
- Stephanie Vogt as Tina TV
Before initial production, the script for the Voices was incredibly praised including being listed on The Black List's Best UN-produced Screenplays of 2009. The film originally had Mark Romanek attached to direct The Voices back in 2010 with Ben Stiller set to act as Jerry Hickfang, but was never made due to the budget issues. The project was brought up again in August 2012, when it was announced that Marjane Satrapi will be directing the black comedy instead. When asked about casting Ryan Reynolds in the leading role, Satrapi stated in an interview with Digital Spy, "At the beginning, the producer and myself said let's look for an actor, and then Ryan made the voices on his iPhone and he sent it over, and I was like, "Who is that?" And suddenly it makes sense. That is the voices the guy hears, so who else but him can do it? It can only be him, so, yeah, it was an obvious choice."
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2014. on March 5, 2014, it was announced Lionsgate had acquired distribution rights to the film. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2014. The film was then released on video on demand and in limited release on February 6, 2015. In the film's opening weekend the film made $5,000.
The Voices received generally positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 73% based on 84 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Voices gives Ryan Reynolds an opportunity to deliver a highlight-reel performance—and offers an off-kilter treat for fans of black comedies." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score 58 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Brad Wheeler of Canada's The Globe and Mail gave the film three out of four stars and stated that, "Think of this stylish, quirky and quite grisly feature from Marjane Satrapi as a meeting of Psycho, Dexter and Dr. Doolittle."
Awards and nominations
- 20th annual L'Etrange Festival in Paris bestowed two awards on the film: the Canal+ Nouveau Genre Award (the festival's Grand Prize) and the equally prestigious Audience Award.
- 2015 Festival International du Film Fantastique de Gérardmer granted two more honors to the film: the Audience Award and the Jury Award.
- "THE VOICES (15)". British Board of Film Classification. February 2, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
- "[Interview] Rencontre avec Marjane Satrapi, réalisatrice de The Voices". GentleGeek.
- "The Voices (2014)". The Numbers. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
- "Sundance 2014: World Cinema Dramatic Competition". Retrieved May 5, 2014.
- "Lionsgate Hears 'The Voices' This February - Bloody Disgusting!". Bloody Disgusting!.
- Fischer, Russ (December 11, 2009). "The Black List 2009 The Years Best UN-produced Screenplays". Slash Film.com.
- Jagernauth, Kevin (August 7, 2012). "Persepolis’ Director Marjane Satrapi Takes On ‘The Voices’ Formerly Linked To Mark Romanek & Ben Stiller". IndieWire. IndieWire. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Dibdin, Emma (March 18, 2015). "The Voices: Director Marjane Satrapi on casting Ryan Reynolds against type". Digital Spy.
- "Ryan Reynolds takes a break from filming in Germany to grab dinner with co-star Gemma Arterton". dailymail.co.uk. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "'Silver Linings' Actress Jacki Weaver Joins Marjane Satrapi's 'The Voices'". The Hollywood Reporter. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- Mary Sollosi (January 23, 2014). "Sundance Review: Ryan Reynolds Makes A Crazy Comeback Wit - Indiewire". Indiewire.
- Jeff Sneider (March 5, 2014). "Ryan Reynolds' Sundance Thriller 'The Voices' Acquired by Lionsgate (Exclusive)". TheWrap.
- "Ryan Reynolds in The Voices: TIFF Review-Lainey Gossip Entertainment Update".
- "The Voices". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- "The Voices reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
- Wheeler, Brad (February 20, 2015). "The Voices: A black comedy mashup between Psycho, Dexter and Dr. Doolittle". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Ben Croll. "L'Etrange 2014: THE VOICES Speaks To Voters At Festival's End". TwitchFilm.