Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Running Time: 104 mins
The Voices is an American/German film about a man with psychological problems who finally manages to ask a woman at his office out on a date. However, things turn ugly after she stands him up.
To be honest, I’m still not fully set on my opinion of this film. I definitely thinks it’s a good film, but I can’t say that I loved watching it. It’s without a doubt a well-directed film, sticking with a boldly unsettling atmosphere that creeps up on you in a way you can never prepare for, providing shocks and all sorts throughout. Sometimes, it’s maybe more sickening than necessary, and it does make for an uncomfortable watch on many occasions, which is why I’m still struggling to gather how much I liked this, quite a few hours after I finished it.
The one thing that you can’t deny about The Voices, however, is that it gets your attention. Rather than go for a typically dull and drab atmosphere that too many black comedies fall victim to, and the use of a lot of excessive violence makes it a lot more dramatic and shocking than normal, in a similar vein to movies like Fargo.
Marjane Satrapi does an excellent job directing this movie. It’s a tough sell to go for a movie with both bloody violence and close-to-the-nerve commentary on mental health issues, but she does it really well, and sticks strongly with the shocking and really uncomfortable atmosphere that only grows as the film goes on. It may not be fun to watch, but you’ve got to admire how well it’s done from start to finish.
The performances are great too. In the lead role, Ryan Reynolds is excellent, combining his fantastic comedy skills with some very unnerving dramatic acting, and is really compelling to watch all the way through. In the secondary roles, Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick are pretty good too. Their characters are by no means as well-developed as Reynolds’, but they hold their ground well opposite him throughout.
Now, the thing that’s still puzzling me about this film is the way that it deals with the violence. I’m still impressed with Satrapi’s determination by sticking with the strongly dark vibe, but I have to say that, on numerous occasions, I felt too uncomfortable watching this film. The violence is undoubtedly excessive at times, and the cold way that the film presents some of it makes it even more unpleasant to watch.
This is definitely an unsettling film, and that’s testament to the directing and performances, and it makes for a compelling watch, but the nature of its violence and dark comedy is sometimes a little too much, making this at times a really uncomfortable watch, and that’s why The Voices gets a 7.6 from me.