The Voices is Psycho from Bates’ perspective

The first English movie from French-Iranian director Marjane Satrapi gives an original, though horrific view in the life of a murderous psychopath. Her view encourages the viewer to gain empathy with a person who is nothing less than a serial killer. This combined with strong acting makes this mix of comedy, horror, and thriller more than worth watching.

The Voices is a movie about the voices Jerry Hickfang hears in his head. As it turns out, these will be the cause for irreparable events. Jerry’s traumatic childhood is explored as the cause of the voices in his head. Dog Bosco and cat Mister Whiskers bring the voices to life, which results in hilarious cat/dog arguments. Jerry lives in a little town called Milton and works in the shipping department of a local factory. An incredibly, beautiful lady called Fiona works in accounting and Jerry immediately develops a crush for her. However, thanks to the voices in his head his relation with Fiona does not turn out the way he had hoped it would and before we know things are completely out of control.

The cast is led by Ryan Reynolds as Jerry. And he is supported by Gemma Arterton, Jackie Weaver, and Twilight-actress Anna Kendrick. Reynolds does an amazing job in displaying a psychopath. While we know him from more confident roles like in The Proposal, Reynolds shows that he’s more than a good looking guy and can also pull off the role of an insecure, little boy who just wants to be liked. While Reynolds is the centre of attention, Arterton and Weaver in particular fulfill excellent supporting roles. Arterton is the beautiful Fiona, who is confident and the bitch in the office, especially when we compare her to Reynolds’ depiction of Jerry. Jerry’s psychiatrist is Jackie Weaver, she fails to see that her patient is not doing as well as she thought. Both ladies, but Kendrick as well, perform excellently and really support Reynolds in his role.

Downside is the slow start of the movie. While the situation is clear and explained quite quickly the movie seems to have some start up problems. Only to escalate in a rather swift manner in the second half of the movie. While this can be seen as an annoyance it does fit the subject of serial killers. As serial killers do not start off as serial killers, rather they escalate into becoming them, much like Jerry Hickfang. The dialogues between Hickfang and his animal do make up for the slow start and keep it flowing. Mostly thanks to the excellent cat/dog dialogues, who are in fact also voiced by Ryan Reynolds.

The Voices is a stunning first English movie for Marjane Satrapi. A rather serious topic is neutralized by the comical effect of talking animals and Hickfang’s insecure, awkward attitude. Satrapi shows that two opposing genres can go very well together as long as there is a well timed alternation between humor and atrocities. However, what’s even more important, is the fact that this alternation prevents the movie from becoming a dull movie, and instead keeps it flowing and interesting.

3.5 Stars

For more information on this movie, please also read my interview with director Marjane Satrapi which you can find right here.

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