SOUND OF MY VOICE
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Cults seem to be all the rage in movie right now, right? Last year, you had “Martha Marcy May Marlene” garnish some independent street cred for actress Elizabeth Olsen. Then there was the mildly funny misfire “Wanderlust” earlier this year. We also have P.T. Anderson’s “The Master” making a lot of waves in the pre-awards buzz.
Getting somewhat lost in this shuffle but actually one of the better movies out there about cult behavior is “Sound of My Voice.” The story follows a young couple that tries to infiltrate a mysterious cult in Los Angeles. It’s led by a mysterious woman named Maggie (Brit Marling) who claims to have been sent back from the future to prepare a small group of people for salvation. It starts as an expose, but soon the young couple get sucked into the questionable beliefs in their own ways.
Brit Marling made a bit of a splash last year with her film “Another Earth,” which got some praise but I personally hated. So, I’m not coming at “Sound of My Voice” as a fan of hers. In fact, she annoys me a bit as an actress. However, she does a fantastic job as Maggie, never quite showing her hand as to whether she’s insane, her followers are insane or if it’s all actually true.
I suppose I would classify “Sound of My Voice” as a thriller, even though it doesn’t necessarily play out that way in a traditional sense. It’s a slow-burn drama that plays very subtly. It employs certain found footage clips from the infiltration, and that style spills over in the cinéma vérité shooting style. However, the camera movement is much more subtle than you’d expect from a modern film like this.
I liked that. The style gives a sense of unease, but it isn’t so “natural” that it draws more attention to itself than it should (which is more than you can say for professional cinematographers in bigger films where everyone’s clambering for the spotlight).
“Sound of My Voice” is an eerie film that is completely supported by the performances. It’s deliberately vague, which can sometimes be annoying but works fine in this setting. More over, it’s frighteningly realistic, and it shows how easy it would be to get sucked in at ground zero of a cult like this.
The “Sound of My Voice” Blu-ray includes two featurettes: “The Making of Sound of My Voice” and “Maggie.” Also included are two Fox Movie Channel short films: “Direct Effect with Zal Batmanglij” and “Writer’s Draft with Brit Marling.”