From the writer of Another Earth comes another engaging drama that may or may not be in the sci-fi genre. About a journalist and his girlfriend who infiltrate a cult whose leader claims that she is from a post-apocalyptic future, Sound of My Voice is a little known diamond in the rough.
In Sound of My Voice, Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius) go undercover to film a potentially dangerous cult. In the basement where the cult meets, they are introduced to Maggie (Brit Marling), who has collected several individuals to prepare for the miserable future that is to come. As time progresses and Maggie becomes more and more convincing, Peter and Lorna find their lives torn apart by her words.
Denham, Vicius and Marling deliver excellent performances, with Marling stealing the show as the icily convincing Maggie. Maggie is at once manipulative and alluring, simultaneously kind and ruthless. She is perhaps deranged, but her true purpose is masked by her natural beauty and pleasant mannerisms. Marling is perfect in the role, which is not surprising considering she co-wrote the screenplay with director Zal Batmanglij.
The movie is simple in its execution and small in terms of scope, but Batmanglij's dynamic direction makes the film feel larger than the confines of the basement in which most of the movie takes place.
At only 85 minutes, Sound of My Voice is fast and fluid, but in hindsight the picture needed more to be completely convincing. Peter's evolution from investigative journalist to potential follower is intriguing but not as fleshed out as it could have been; Marling and Batmanglij needed to dive deeper into his character to make his decisions more understandable. While I liked the ending, it leaves the audience with an intriguing question but not much to debate. Was she telling the truth, or was she a liar? The question doesn't need to be answered by the filmmakers, but they needed to color the story with more material to force the audience to ask the question in the first place.
Sound of My Voice is an intriguing tale that explores how even intelligent people can be drawn into seemingly illogical situations. The movie isn't perfect, but, following Another Earth, it has cemented me as a Brit Marling fan.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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