Total Eclipse Of The Mind (By A Scottish Cat)
All cats are evil right? I’ve always suspected this and now I have seen proof in Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis, 2007) outstanding new VERY black comedy ‘The Voices’ 2014.
What I wasn’t aware of was that before you collapse dead in your kitchen from eating decades of cakes, and your cat immediately celebrates your expired sell by date by feasting on your sweet sugary corpse, said cat will have encouraged you to murder a few nice folk, and collect their heads as fridge decorations. Nor was I aware that when your cat speaks to you, it’s with a strong Scottish accent peppered with a very generous sprinkling of expletives. Thankfully I don’t have a cat, so I’ll be fine.
Unfortunately for small town factory worker Jerry (Ryan Reynolds in one of his best ever performances), he has a cat (Mr. Whiskers), with a Scottish accent, and an empty fridge. All the signs for mischief and mayhem were there. He also has a friendly rationally speaking dog (Bosco), but alas, the cat is far more vocal.
Jerry has all the sweet and gentle appearance/behaviour of having recently fallen head first out of a Norman Rockwell painting. That painting being the perspective of how he views the world from an ever so slightly (MASSIVELY) warped and actually damaged mind, itself the result of some serious childhood issues, well more traumas to be honest. If he takes his medication as prescribed (he’s not sure if he is or isn’t taking it), he’ll lose not only the conversational companionship of his four legged best buddies, but also the beautifully enhanced vibrant idyllic world he sees (and we see it too), resulting in the all far too real world that’s brushed thick with the potential true horrors of life. Besides, any such tenuous links to reality are swiftly wafted away when he falls for fellow factory worker and English rose Fiona (Gemma Arterton). And you’ve not really experienced true love till it’s stabbed you repeatedly in the heart with a hunting knife. Though I’m not sure that’s how the saying goes.
Obviously all the above has you screaming out ‘But that’s FANTASTIC content for an excellent comedy!’, and you’d be right, it is. Written (by Michael R. Perry), directed and acted (in particular Reynolds and Anna Kendrick as Lisa) with wonderful aplomb, there’s a very rare assuredness in the direction of the movie. It’s both wonderfully whimsical, funny, beautiful looking and really, REALLY dark. It’s success being that it knows where it wants to go and isn’t afraid to go there, treating the viewer with intelligence by not pulling punches, whether in laughs, taste or knowledge/social commentary, and has a genuine good heart beating in amongst all the gallons of splattered blood.
It’s a wonderful team that has put this movie together, and any worries I had about them not reaching the full potential highs/lows of where I thought the movie should go where quickly cast aside like old forgotten heads in a fridge. It’s not for everyone, but if you have a macabre sense of humour (you must have to have got this far into the review), you clearly have great taste and you will be also rewarded by one of the funniest end title sequences in a very long time. Who would have thought so many butchered bodies would have you singing, smiling and skipping your way out of the cinema.
The Voices is out now. And cats are everywhere.