Jerry's stunted and his overall sense of dislocation has brought him to Anywhere, U.S.A. where he works for Milton International, a bathtub factory. He lives in the curiously solitary apartment above the abandoned Mellow Lanes bowling alley with his dog Bosco and cat Mr. Whiskers, both of whom speak to Jerry in distinct voices (provided by Reynolds himself). Bosco, a kind soul, has a good-old-boy country drawl, while the snide, foul-mouthed Mr. Whiskers talks with, improbably, a Scottish brogue.
Jerry also talks, once a week, to his psychoanalyst Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver), whose one mission is to keep Jerry on his meds - so he won't hear voices. Actually, it's because of the meds that he thinks Bosco and Mr. Whiskers are talking to him. Anyway, Mr. Whiskers, a brilliant provocateur, coerces Jerry to date and kill a few of the young women in the accounting department of Milton. (The ladies unlucky in love are gamely played by Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick and Ella Smith.)
Yes, Jerry becomes a serial killer.
Well, to be precise, he becomes a serial decapitator. He stores the women's heads in the refrigerator in his little apartment, chatting with them (they talk back, too) and feeding them cereal. "The Voices" is clearly an acquired taste (to put it mildly), hardly easy to recommend, but I absolutely adored it.
Reynolds, who has broken away from the Hollywood mold since "Green Lantern" (Atom Egoyan's The Captive" and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's "Mississippi Grind"), is totally in concert with Satrapi's vision here.
His performance is immersive and fully committed, at once funny, affecting and frightening.
Together, Satrapi and her star refuse to honor audience expectations, to the point that "The Voices" closes with a nifty production number in which the entire cast sings and dances - to a ditty titled "Sing a Happy Song" (!).
"The Voices" isn't receiving a wide release. No surprise here. Or even a reasonably limited release. (Full disclosure: I saw it On Demand.)
What's surprising - and heartening - is that it got made in the first place.
Photo Credits: Reiner Bajo/Lionsgate © 2014