Some Voices (1999, Daniel Craig, David Morrrissey)

Some Voices

Amid the landslide of Hollywood psychos and one-dimensional dysfunction, this intelligent and credible analysis of mental illness made Some Voices a triumph for FilmFour.

Released from psychiatric care, Ray (Daniel Craig) is placed in the care of his brother Pete (David Morrissey), who runs their late father’s London café. Ray spots Laura (Kelly MacDonald) arguing with her boyfriend Dave (Peter McDonald), and when she throws him out, Ray approaches, asking her out. She agrees. Returning from a trip to Hastings, Pete is furious with his brother for leaving unannounced, seeing it as another barrier to his own happiness with Mandy (Julie Graham).

Ray’s behaviour gets worse: he serves a customer pizza laced with pills, and later claims to hear voices. As he becomes more objectionable, Ray’s family and friends are unable to respond, and watch him helplessly deteriorate…

Taking over the role from Ray Winstone’s stage success, Daniel Craig mirrors the luckless role he took in Cellan Jones’ Our Friends in the North. As with that project, he gives his character humanity, illustrating the arbitrary nature of his illness. Morrissey also relived the caring, confused dilemma seen as the go-between in Hilary & Jackie.

Penhall based it on a friend (“He led an extraordinary life and I did not find out until years later that it was all to do with him having schizophrenia. I felt I wanted to write his story”) and the film maintains that same intimacy. This was achieved with location shooting in Shepherd’s Bush using hand-held cameras and minimal intrusion to the locals, with mixed results. “Sometimes we got wonderful stuff,” remembers the director. “And other times someone would come out of a pub and start yelling at us.”

UK / 1999

Director: Simon Cellan Jones
Writer: Joe Penhall, from his own play

Cast: Daniel Craig, Julie Graham, Kelly MacDonald, David Morrissey, Peter McDonald