A surprising low budget gem, Sound Of My Voice (2011, dir. Zal Batmanglij) tells the story of young couple Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius), who are shooting a documentary on cults and those who follow them. Peter and Lorna learn of a specific group of people who follow a woman named Maggie (Brit Marling), who claims to be from the future. As Peter and Lorna become initiated into the group, their views on cults and the personal meanings behind their quest for truth begins to change, particularly as Maggie begins involving the two in her own agenda.
I watched this film on a bit of a whim. I was intrigued by Brit Marling’s performance in I Origins (2014), so decided to watch this without really knowing the story or who else was involved. I’m glad I did see this because whilst it wasn’t the most groundbreaking piece of cinema I’ve seen, it certainly wasn’t a bad way to spend 85 minutes. Often films about cults can be told in a melodramatic way, and are sometimes told as straight-up horror movies, which doesn’t allow for a subtle buildup of tension. I’m glad to say that this film has a great buildup of tension over time that allows for a sufficiently mindbending conclusion. The storytelling is also very sound, although it does contain some loose ends that are not tied up.
As aforementioned, it cannot be denied that Sound Of My Voice is super low budget. The key moments of the film take place in a basement, for crying out loud. But aside from the fact that the locations give the budget away, the film looks absolutely amazing, the direction and cinematography is stellar, and director Zal Batmanglij has certainly worked with what he was given to the best of his ability. The cinematography gives an edgy and tense feel to the film, and the use of warm tone whites and greys for the scenes where Peter and Lorna attend meetings with Maggie’s followers lends a clinical and futuristic feel. The overall feel is minimalistic, which works perfectly when you don’t have a Michael Bay budget. I would say that visually, and creatively, Sound Of My Voice is a success.
Finally, Brit Marling is quite amazing, her calm and charming demeanour being the perfect fit for Maggie’s kind of cult. Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius also give minimalistic performances that matches the tone of the film very well indeed. I’d definitely suggest watching Sound Of My Voice if you have the opportunity to. Some may feel that the ending is a bit of a cop-out, but I don’t mind some ambiguity here and there. Don’t go in to watching this with any expectations for it to break the mold, but just enjoy the strange trip.
Watch the trailer here.
I’m glad you liked this! I really did too, and I’ve becoming a big fan of Marling. You should check her out in Another Earth and The East. Those are great films of hers as well. Nice review!
Thanks Brittani! I think I’m going to check out Another Earth next, the plot sounds really interesting!
Great acting in this one.
I thought this as o.k. but am not a fan of Brit Marling who I find to be obsessively overrated. I liked
Electrick Children (2012) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2139843/ a lot more.
That actually sounds like a really interesting watch, thanks for the recommend!
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) – IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441326/
was interesting as well, but Hugh Dancy ………welll
I loved that film! And I completely forgot Hugh Dancy was in it!
Very odd film! I’m gonna see it (if I’ll find it XD)
Would love to hear your thoughts on it if you end up giving it a watch!
Great review, Anna! 🙂 Brit Marling knows how to choose really great movies. All of them are really enjoyable: Another Earth, The East, Sound of My Voice and I Origins. I liked all of them a lot. They usually are quite odd but the atmosphere and tone are done so good even if its a little slow burning (but then I usually like that sort of thing).
Thanks Kim! I agree, Marling’s films are always intriguing, and the atmosphere is always top notch. Really interested to see more of her performances!
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