Sound Of My Voice - Review




Starring Brit Marling, Nicola Vicius and Peter Denham

Directed by Zal Batmanglij

Would-be documentary filmmaker Peter (Denham) and his girlfriend Lorna (Vicius) infiltrate the creepy Californian sect that’s grown around a young woman (Marling) who claims both to come from the future and to possess information vital to mankind’s survival.

This was a movie that I had been wanting to watch for a long time and as soon as I saw it on Sky I watched it immediately. I had heard about it off someone on youtube who had said it was their film of the year so I did a bit of reading up on it and watched as many trailers as I could but even that couldn't prepare me for how much I loved Sound Of My Voice. I relish a low budget independent cinema that is incredibly well acted, directed and  written and Sound Of My voice is all of these things wrapped up in a psychological sci-fi thriller. It has that charming low-fi independent feel yet it is far classier than some of mainstream cinema at the moment.

Interesting, gripping and tense - you get the impression that this cult is believable. As a viewer you are in the same position as our protagonists. You don't know where this basement is, you don't know whether to believe Maggie either. There are times when her story is plausible, times when common sense absolutely doubts what she is saying but at the back of your mind if she really is from our future how can you ignore her wisdom.

Immediately it reminded me of Martha Marcy May Marlene, which I loved, but I like this a touch better. They share a lot of paralells (cult subject matter and cliff hanger endings) and both are films you will want to talk about after, to debate and discuss which is something that really appeals to me.

Brit Marling is pretty creepy as the charismatic and mesmerising cult leader. There is a scene early on where she breaks the fourth wall to say that she is from 'our future' which is spectacularly eerie and chilling. From the point of view of an actress this is one of the meatiest roles I have seen for a long time, she's ambiguously manipulative and powerful despite the fact she allegedly cannot leave her sterile basement.

One of the strongest aspects of the movie can also be viewed as a draw back. The ending and key themes that are raised throughout are never resolved and are so undeveloped that you can't help but hope a trilogy was always in the writer's mind. There's the issue with the police woman, surely the level of her security technology would not be necessary to find an arsonist? Abigail and her hat, black lego and Narclepsy and the injection off her barely introduced father are never explained. Were the revelations about Peter's past fabricated or legitimate. It all rests upon faith - whether the cult members have faith in time travel actually being possible and if so, whether Maggie is what she says she is. This all alludes to a wider plot and the fact that there are so many loose ends is acceptable because we have been told that it is going to become a trilogy. Although many questions have been raised and unanswered, it's not unsatisfyng because you hope that eventually there will be an opportunity for it to be resolved and at best you have to trust in your interpretation. Sound Of My Voice does not placate the audience and try to impose heavy handed conclusions; subtlety is Batmanglij and Marling's ace.

Rating: 9

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