In Review: The Voices (2014)

by Daniel Goodwin on 21/03/2015


Director Marjane Satrapi is best known for her fascinating 2007 film Persepolis: an animated feature about the 1979 Iranian revolution which she co-directed with Vincent Paronaud. Eight years later and Satrapi delivers her English language debut, The Voices: a weird and anomalous whimsy about a psychotic factory-hand with talking pets and a proclivity for beheading his female work colleagues.

Melding the gothic fantasy of Tim Burton, David Lynch’s suburban surrealism and the garish palette of John Waters, Satrapi also adopts a music-box coyness with her myriad influences and unravels The Voices like a Wes Anderson nightmare. The plot is a charming but jumbled amalgam of psycho horror and twisted faux Disney charm, accentuated by the dubious demeanour of protagonist Jerry (Ryan Reynolds): a nice guy with a glint in his eye.

Reynolds delivers a pleasant performance but fails to evoke the complexities required to effectively engage the viewer at a visceral level which is essential for this kind of tightly-focused character study. He’s amusing and glaringly multi-layered; sharing heated conversations with his bone idle dog Rosco and evil, Scottish cat Mr Whiskers (both also voiced by Reynolds) but Jerry is not as compelling, affectively portrayed or mysterious as the likes of Norman Bates or Hannibal Lector.

The story moves at a decent pace yet yearns for subplots and a labyrinthine complexity to substitute for its lack of a dynamic protagonist. Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver offer solid support as Jerry’s work colleagues but do not provide the dramatic thrust required to propel the film out of its vibrant mediocrity. The comedy and horror aspects are executed with flair but The Voices is neither justly scary nor funny. It is entertaining but lollops lost between genres and alienates slightly as a result of its oddness.

With the right material Marjane Satrapi could work miracles (her Persepolis follow-ups Chicken With Plums (2011) and The Gang of the Jotas (2012) remain unreleased in the UK) but despite its star power, vibrant visuals, idiosyncratic nature and impressive musical finale, there is not enough fire in The Voices to make it anything more than a colourful curiosity.

Daniel has awarded The Voices (2014) three Torches of Truth

three torches

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: