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November 12, 2015
The Voices Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
6/2/2015 (USA)4/11/2015Village RoadshowMarjane Satrapi
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 5.1R18+Ryan Reynolds

THE MOVIE
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Ryan Reynolds is brilliant as Jerry in The Voices.

It's fair to say that it's probably impossible to count the number of films based on murders released over the year, there would have to be thousands, but very few would have the raw dark comedy slant that The Voices provides, and it's a rollercoaster ride from star to finish. Admittedly, when we saw the trailer for this film (available here), we were intrigued. Cute, talking, animals but with a very adult twist to the film.

Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds) is that chipper guy clocking the nine-to-five at a bathtub factory, with the offbeat charm of anyone who could use a few friends. With the help of his court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver), he pursues his office crush. However, the relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn after she stands him up for a date. Guided by his evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog, Jerry must decide whether to keep striving for normalcy, or indulge in a much more sinister path.

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The Voices is a dark comedy full of suspense.
Without a doubt this a film which Ryan Reynolds can be proud of with a stellar performance as a man whose life is spiraling out of control with his life guided by his often very amusing cat and dog. Indeed they're hilarious and, as a cat owner, there are so many similarities to real life - or perhaps my cat, Bosley, is just evil too! In reality this is a film about mental illness, and probably one of the best ones we've seen in many years. Viewing events through the eyes of Jerry really brings a rawness to the story, and makes it even more impactful when things go wrong, but not in his mind.

With an R18+ rating here in Australia this certainly isn't a film for youngsters. Besides the murders and gore, even the talking animals are pretty vulgar, but often in a hilarious way. At one point a girl arrives at Jerry's house at which point the dog, Bosco, proclaims "Oh, Jerry, I just need a whiff of her butt". In another scene after Jerry comes home after a night out Bosco greets him with excitement like and dog would, whereas Mr. Whiskers simply sits there and says "Where the fuck's my food, fuckface" "Food!" "Food. Now!" before a cutaway to some cat poo on a sofa where he says "I left you a little gift on the sofa, a reminder why you can't leave us alone without food." Yes, it's vulgar, but anyone with a pet will know exactly how true this is!

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Chatting to Bosco and Mr Whiskers.
Marjane Satrapi is a young, upcoming director with this being only the fourth film to her name (although her first film Persepolis which she co-directed was a moderate hit), but she has proven adept at handling a complex storyline and dark comedy while getting some great performances from the actors. The Iranian director is also an accomplished author and graphic artist which adds to her skillset and she is someone to keep an eye on for future projects.

The Voices isn't a film for everyone, it's quite dark and gruesome at times, but those with the stomach for it will likely enjoy this film as something a little different.

VIDEO
The Blu-Ray transfer for The Voices is encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec, and presents the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. For a film produced on a fairly low budget, this is a pretty nice looking film, in fact it's quite impressive with a natural look, but often vibrant colours really popping including karaoke scenes in a Chinese Restaurant and karaoke Bar, and even Jerry's bright pink work clothing. With a bit rate that often hovers in the 25-30Mbps range this transfer certainly has plenty of room to ensure fine details are super sharp, even in the many darker scenes.

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That's not lawn clippings he's carrying around.
AUDIO
As with the video there's not a lot to shout out about here besides the primary audio track. Fortunately this lossless audio track is a cracker and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track offers a clear, lively experience. The film is quite dialogue driven, and at all times it's clear to understand, while, occasionally when the film has a need for surround sound it kicks in nicely as well including a thunderstorm around the 19 minute mark.

Only one other audio track is present on the disc an English Audio Description track which is presented in a very disappointing Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224kbps. While the film isn't filled with surround sound it would have been a nice inclusion. Subtitles are also somewhat lacking with only an English Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired available through the menu and is accurate to the on-screen dialogue.

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The cat, Mr Whiskers, is absolutely hilarious.
EXTRAS
This disc is totally devoid of any extras (besides trailers for Knock Knock (2:00), The Gallows (2:25) and Cooties (2:08) upon disc startup) which is a bit of a shame as the American release includes some extras including Deleted Scenes, a Visual Effects Comparison and details about creating Bosco and Mr Whiskers, Animatics and more. We're not sure how long they run for, or if they're worth your time, but I'd rather they were included then missing.

OVERALL
There's no doubt that The Voices isn't a film for everyone, it's a very dark comedy with some pretty morbid moments (having talking animals certainly doesn't make this a film for youngsters), but it's also a very clever, well-acted and an engrossing film. The Voices is on we'd recommend as a rental for most, but fans of Ryan Reynolds may consider a purchase given its $AU25 release price, or even cheaper if you shop around.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
7/10
THE VIDEO
8/10
THE AUDIO
9/10
THE EXTRAS
0/10
OVERALL
6/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.