© Ascot Elite/Paramount

The Voices
U.S.A./Germany 2014

Opening 30 Apr 2015

Directed by: Marjane Satrapi
Writing credits: Michael R. Perry
Principal actors: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver, Ella Smith

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) works in a bathtub factory in Milton, Michigan, USA. He wears pink overalls and drives a pink forklift. His greatest wish is to fit in, to be one of the team, and also to win the attention of Fiona, one of three girls in bookkeeping. After work he visits his psychoanalyst, Dr. Warren, who cautions him to take his medicine to ward off the effects of his disease, schizophrenia. He lives above an abandoned bowling alley, and his evenings would be terribly lonely, if it weren’t for his dog Boscoe and the cat Mr. Whiskers, with whom he has delightful conversations, as long as he forgets to take his pills. (Animal voice overs are also by Reynolds!) After a bit of indecision, he throws the pills away. After all, life is much more interesting in an unreal world, where the apartment is brightly clean and the pets advise him on the ways of the world. Boscoe tends towards forgiveness and making things right. Mr. Whiskers tends towards constant complaining and revenge. One rainy night (horror stories always start on a rainy night, right?) he picks up Fiona after her car won’t start. He thinks that this is the beginning of a long life together. He accidently hits a deer in the road and the blood flows.

Director Marjane Satrapi is known for her Persepolis and Huhn mit Pflaume (Poulet aux Prunes) and this strange combination of fearful fun fits right into her oeuvre. Although it looks like small-town USA, it was filmed in Babelsberg Studios as well as around Berlin and Brandenburg. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2014 and rightly won prizes at the L’Etrange Festival in Paris (“l’etrange” as in “strange” or “different”). The film has been described as extreme, oblique, absurd, bizarre, original, surreal, realistic, sad, silly, scary, funny and shrewd – a thriller, a comedy, a fantasy. My colleague and I enjoyed it immensely, perhaps because we are also crazy, and although I rated it four stars, I hesitate to recommend it to everyone. Many of our other colleagues either left the cinema or were not amused, although it is supposed to be a comedy. It’s my Extraordinary Film of the Year and definitely puts a whole new meaning into the term Talking Heads and Tupperware containers. Dr. Warren proves that she can give ten years of therapy in 10 seconds, and Kai Fung Rieck is an excellent Chinese Elvis imitator. (Becky Tan)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.