REVIEW: "Sound Of My Voice" Is Anything But Typical
The film is written by Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, part of the same trio who brought us the critically acclaimed "Another Earth" from earlier this year. They seem to have a penchant for doing everything themselves – Batmanglij is also the director and Marling plays the chief antagonist. And with this new film, they have made their name as personalities to watch, as the creators of a sort of revolution within the industry.
Their films project their creative style through all aspects of production, from the themes, the minimalistic yet deep ethos to the blunt departure from stereotypes and artistic constraints – both inside the film’s universe and outside.
Told a little like a documentary, "Sound of My Voice" follows reporter Peter Aitken and his girlfriend Lorna as they investigate a secret cult and its enigmatic leader. However, their investigation merely blows the dust off of more questions, turning back to bite them, forcing them to question their own lives, and to come to terms with their own secrets.
The ensemble is perfectly cast, the performances are surprisingly superb. For folks who have never seen Brit Marling perform, expect to get fooled by her cute blonde looks and wispy, sultry voice as she plays Maggie, the cult’s leader, and then taken aback by her acting and her stunning screen presence. The same goes for Lorna, played by Nicole Vicius, who goes from being a neglected girlfriend to one of the most influential characters in the film. Fresh faces like that of Christopher Denham seem to be chosen with a lot of thought, given how much his presence alone affects the tone and style of the film.
In an effort to include the audience in the mind games that go on in the story, the film uses minimalistic visual effects as in itself a way to hypnotise the audience, and also not risk alienating them. The film dives right into the heart of the story with the very first scene, which shows Peter and Lorna being led blindfolded to the cult’s secret location in one of LA’s sprawling neighbourhoods. The ending is similarly abrupt, yet feels shockingly natural. The writers have mentioned a sequel, something that will quell not only people who loved the film, but also those who ended up unsatisfied with the vague ending. Everything in between, the storyline is uncluttered – it flows mostly like a streamlined, chronological series of events, with the exception of a few bizarre scenes.
With the personal histories of the other characters as well, it is more a question of sympathy – how can you relate to a person if you are never sure whether what happened to them really transpired?
In this regard, the film ends where it begins, on the question of truth, while the only element to have changed is the viewer’s perception of reality.
Reach Reporter Raunak Khosla here.