Peter (Christopher Denham) and his girlfriend Lorna (Nicole Vicius) infiltrate a local cult as part of a documentary they’re making. The special thing about this particular cult besides that it is rigorously regulated, as each new member must pass a serious of trials, is the fact that their leader is woman named Maggie (Brit Marling) who proclaims is from 2054. At first it all seems ridiculous and with the purpose of tricking people, but Peter and Lora gradually discover that there certain abnormal secrets in play and that Maggie may just be much more influential than they had anticipated.
I have always been fascinated by cults. What makes them so interesting to me is the way the cult’s beliefs became an integral part of their members. It takes a lot of carefully structured and spoken words to turn a non-believer into a believer. The leader must tap into something deep inside in their members, he/she has to shake you to your core and once the person has considered the alternative the mission is almost completed. It is in that respect that Sound of My Voice excels at and it is all thanks to Brit Marling incredible performance.
Ever since Another Earth I have been mystified by Brit Marling. As a writer and actor, she has demonstrated a very creative, thoughtful and endearing voice that is utterly transfixing. In Sound of My Voice she utilizes her inherited endearing and evocative presence to great effect so much so that if I was a new member of that cult I would become a believer. She draws you in like a beautiful black hole and just the manner in which she speaks is brilliant. It’s soft, soothing and hypnotic tone of voice that eases the very fabric of your soul. Marling is absolutely exceptional and I cannot wait to see what she does next.
Even more interesting though is Peter’s journey. Firstly, Christopher Denham delivers a great performance filled with so many subtleties and ambiguity that even after spending two hours with him you still don’t know exactly who he is. Peter represents the non-believer or in other words the audience watching the film. Like him we are carefully and with much apprehension examining this cult. There’s something off about it, something truly ominous hidden under all the euphoric philosophical talk. But much like him we are drawn to Maggie, to her words and the manner in which she can see right through you. It’s like this stranger knows something about you, knows a secret but more importantly this person understand you completely.
Sound of My Voice is as intriguing as it is mysterious. The film is ambiguous by nature and with each small answer comes an even bigger question. Is she really from the future? Is it all a hoax? The film answers both questions which leads to even more confusion. There are no clear answers and it us up to the audience to assess their own answers, to come up with their own ideas of what the hell is really happening. The way the film builds tension is exhilarating, the way its script engulfs is thoughtful and analytic, and its performances will resonate long after you’ve finished the film. The ending is specially awesome as it hints at something much larger and oddly plausible.