Some Voices

on May 15, 2000 by Chris Wiegand
   No one falls apart onscreen quite like Daniel Craig. In "Love is the Devil" Craig gave an astonishing performance of emotional disintegration as Francis Bacon's tumultuous partner George Dyer. In "Some Voices," the feature film debut of acclaimed British TV director Simon Cellan Jones, he is sucked into a similarly destructive downward spiral as the troubled schizophrenic Ray.

   At the start of the film, Ray is released from a psychiatric institution into the care of his overworked brother (David Morrissey), who offers him a job in his café on the condition that he sticks to his prescribed diet of mood-stabilizing pharmaceuticals. On the brink of forming a new life, Ray meets and falls in love with Laura ("Trainspotting's" Kelly MacDonald), a pregnant young Scottish woman who is in the middle of a messy break-up with her violent boyfriend Dave (Peter McDonald). Laura and Ray embark on an unconventional yet increasingly tender relationship, but when Ray stops taking his medication and Laura's ex refuses to leave her alone, things begin to turn sour.

   "Some Voices" is an unlikely love story set in a grim London landscape reminiscent of Michael Winterbottom's "Wonderland." Aerial shots of the city dominate the film, providing an ominous backdrop for the lovers' fragile relationship. Ray's gift for appreciating life helps him hunt out simple and colorful pleasures amidst such squalor and he brings an equal measure of comfort and destruction to the lives of those closest to him. The film's tone is determined by his precarious mood swings, so that it is at turns comical and violent. Simon Cellan Jones' compassionate direction subtly incorporates some symbolic motifs and displays Ray's schizophrenic episodes through the original use of distorted visuals. But it is the performances of Macdonald, Morrissey and Craig in particular that make this an essential piece of British cinema.    Starring Daniel Craig, David Morrissey, Kelly Macdonald and Julie Graham. Directed by Simon Cellan Jones. Written by Joe Penhall. Produced by Damian Jones and Graham Broadbent. No distributor set. Drama/Romance. Not yet rated. Running time: 99 min.

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