Sound of My Voice (R) - Runtime: 85 minutes
Starring: Brit Marling, Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius
Director: Zal Batmanglij
Writer: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling
This movie was kind of a surprise. I had wanted to at least check it out when I saw the trailer - I do like movies that offer up mysterious, cult-like figures and it just looked really interesting. And despite it's low-budget aesthetic and somewhat slow-pace, I nonetheless really dug this movie. In fact, the movie kind of sets up a sequel of which the writer/director Zal Batmanglij has talked about doing - which would be fantastic.
The movie follows a couple, Peter and Lorna who want to investigate what they think is a cult. They want to document what they think is going to eventually turn into a Heaven's Gate fiasco with all the member's either being killed or committing suicide. Behind all these shenanigans? It's a frail, beautiful woman named Maggie who claims to be from the future. She doesn't know how or why she's back in our present day, but she plans on teaching people about really living, instead of the bullshit lives us commonfolk live nowadays.
Peter is inexplicably drawn to Maggie and falls under her spell. At first he wants to expose Maggie as a fraud, but can't help fall under her spell. It's not exactly sexual, either. The movie doesn't try to persuade you that he's in love, but he most definitely wants Maggie to like him.Meanwhile, Lorna gets more and more concerned that the cult is taking over their lives, especially when one of the other members takes her out in the wilderness to shoot a gun.
The film does move at a slow pace, but I never really felt bored - things don't escalate quickly - it's a gradual climb to the climax when everything comes to a head. I won't spoil the ending, save that it's really good and will leave you wondering whether you believe Maggie is for real or not. It actually makes you want to go back and watch with a closer eye to see if things seem legit - Maggie's story, her constant need to be fed organic stuff (she's allergic to most food from our time), etc.
The performances are great - Brit Marling has been popping up in some movies that I've seen recently or have heard about and I'm quickly falling for her, too. You completely buy into her role as the reluctant leader of this cult. And Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius are wonderful too - especially Denham who has some brilliant moments with Marling.
The film is a great study on how we let people into our lives and sometimes the closest people to us may never really know your true feelings or past. Peter seems to have a lot of demons from his past, but he's never once told Lorna anything but he opens up instead to Maggie. The film also does a great job of never letting the tension go - there's moments when you don't know if someone is going to live or die and it's quite scary.
I highly recommend this movie - it's worth checking out if you don't mind a slower pace. The movie is less than an hour and a half long, so it's over with quickly. But that doesn't diminish the impact I had after seeing the ending. I wanted more. Hopefully that will happen!
Rating: Rent It!