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Monster therapy — a review of the mystical film “Voice of monster”, year 2016

Amazing story about a boy Connor and the monster of his dreams. When Connor especially hard, something incredible occurs — the old yew tree outside his window comes to life and turns into a huge monster. At night, the monster tells Conor stories to help him understand that even when the whole world is crashing, you can find the strength not to despair.

Well-known British author Clive S. Lewis wrote in one of the parts of “the Chronicles of Narnia”: “someday you’ll grow up to such a day, when again will start to read fairy tales”. This quote often comes to mind if you suddenly want to take in a fictional fantasy world, inhabited by amazing creatures, where good always triumphs over evil, albeit with obstacles or losses. Tales are for adults as therapy for the time spent on the background routine, and the heart again and again happily trembles with the joy of childhood.

So, in the “Voice of monster” the percentage of fantasy is not so high as it might seem at first glance. Under a thin layer of metaphors and parables is really a psychological drama about the worst — the loss of a loved one and struggle with himself.

The subject will agree, but why relive the events of the film at times painful. The main character is 12-year-old boy, who is seriously, perhaps even terminally ill mother. The healing process lasts unbearably long, but faith does not leave anyone from the family members. Connor also has nightmares, and in one such night, exactly at 0:07, the Windows of his room are looking amazing creature — a huge old yew. Monster has a story to tell of the desperate child of only three stories, the meaning of each of which are intended to destroy illusions, not to create them.

The screenplay based on the novel by Patrick ness, the letter which is almost meticulously followed. Ness was involved in his writing, and his book was created under the inspiration from the idea of a children’s writer Shiwan Dowd, suddenly died from cancer and failed to implement plans. The film’s Director, Spaniard Juan Antonio Bayona, known for the project “Shelter” and “Tabloid horrors,” often called the “second Guillermo Del Toro”. The usual Association could arise in the case of the “Voice of monster”: that the film should see something at least frightening, hints the name, and the child-protagonist — a sure connection with “pan’s Labyrinth”, who told us about the bizarre reality that forms the childish nightmares. The mother of the heroine of “the Labyrinth” is sick, too, and she also appealed for help to the magical world. However, the “monster Voice” in the first frame makes it clear that references to the creation of Del Toro here is only on the surface.

The ribbon Bayona closer “Bridge to Terabithia” or even philosophical and meditative “Fountain”. This is a story of growing up, but growing up the emergency provoked by the extremely difficult circumstances. In light of the fact that the mother of Connor dying in front of him, his being bullied at school, his father refuses to accept the boy into his new family, and grandma is too strict and categorical. It is also a story of coping and psychological healing. The monster teaches the boy: things aren’t always black and white, sometimes evil comes from unexpected directions, and some of the stories do not teach anything. The most instructive, but too painful becomes the story of Connor.

Speaking of monster, are the boy… It is not quite easy. Tis for this role was not chosen by chance. These trees are one of the few living witnesses of the middle ages, so long their eyelids. And grim tales, which tells the monster just turned into the distant past. Also in England, the yew is often found in the cemetery: according to the pre-Christian beliefs, tis has served as a conduit between the worlds of the living and the dead. Actually, straight from the cemetery and walks to Connor wise a huge tree.

Cemetery in one form or another is almost always present in the subconscious of the boy in a bleak neighborhood with the house in the form of recurring nightmares and silenced, but the restless thoughts about the imminent mother’s death. It is the tree and its medicinal properties suggests perfect in all respects, the film of Darren Aronofsky’s “the Fountain”, also telling of the death of a loved one and the impossibility of its adoption.

The motives of the main character of the “Voice of monster” is quite easily amenable to psychoanalysis, and that all possible ambiguities are clarified one way or another to the finale. Viewers expecting a story may be disappointed — everything here is for real. It is extremely emotional and sentimental, but not manipulating the audience in the film. Not grief and love overwhelm Connor, as we would like, — it was plagued by anger, rage, despair and nightmares. The promise to the monster last story needs to tell the boy, and she becomes his recognition the worst. The loss of a loved is not only the wound, but also get acquainted with a real — scared, selfish and tired. Familiar to many the story, isn’t it?

On the technical side, the “Voice of monster” is flawless. The image of a huge tree did not have to doubt its reality. This effect the creators have achieved including due to the fact that part of the body Tisza was man-made, and everything else was drawn on the computer. Also in the picture is my own handwriting — this animated inserts, illustrating the grim stories of the monster, where the watercolour is combined with 3D animations and drawings of the boy and his mother. They set the mood of the film with such bleak subject and lo and behold, I give some solace. Because the art part of the therapy and chance to touch something greater than yourself.

Special mention is given to the crew of the film, starting with the production designer Eugenio Caballero, who received an Oscar for the sets for “pan’s Labyrinth”, and operator Oscar Fury, permanent collaborator of Bayona, and ending, of course, actors. Felicity Jones after the “Outcast One” unusual to see in such a defenseless manner. Scene-by-scene make-up artists increasingly change its appearance, so much so that near the finale there is a growing similarity with the heroine Charlize Theron from “Sweet November”. The mother of Connor in the performance of felicity is astonishing in its generosity, faith and fortitude. Does not come from her no complaint or grievances, and for the entire duration of the picture we hear only short and succinct phrase like “If I had a hundred years, all these years I would have given you.”

Sigourney weaver even in the conventional role of grandmother is harsh and at the same time sensitive. The monster sounded and with the help of technology motion capture portrayed a great Liam Neeson. In the Russian dubbing voice of character gave Vladimir Antonik, often voiced by Neeson. But the drama definitely would have collapsed without Lewis McDougall, loser for the film a range of complex emotions, then perhaps it is time to start to worry. Shortly before the start of filming, the young actor lost his mother. Judging by the dedication demonstrated by Lewis, the story of Connor was his imagination, or trying to break into film. On his pale face and the tears are rare the heart aches.

Despite all these advantages, Bayona the film failed miserably at the domestic box office, instead of the expected $10 million in first weekend, earning only two. Probable calculation of producers on the second “pan’s Labyrinth” did not materialize, and now in the global box office, the only project trying to reach the level of self-sufficiency. The “voice of monster”, which we confess, is inferior to its benchmark in brightness of images and General dynamics. It is more straightforward in its narrative of soul-searching and healing. Ribbon like is a colorful tutorial on some aspects of psychotherapy. Then again, perhaps the creators were not very clearly defined audience: for children it is too dark and tightened, and adults, conversely, may disappoint psihologicheski and drama instead of the expected light fantasy.

However, those who love with all my heart to sympathize with the characters, not afraid of hard questions and answers bleak, definitely in for an emotional cleansing. And after seeing the pictures long something quietly to itch between the ribs. Because life is, alas, not a fairy tale, but something much more complex. And if you want to lie to myself, it is always useful to recall the history of the monster which may one day call you.

© 2017, paradox. All rights reserved.

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