Sound Of My Voice Blu-ray Review
Driving in the dark of the night, a man and a woman follow directions that lead them into a garage of a residential home. As the garage door shuts, a man leads them into the home and instructs them to use the soap well while they scrub in separate showers. The two are dressed in white cotton clothing, their hands are bound and their eyes are blindfolded. Led into a van where two other people are bound, blindfolded and clothed in the same white cotton, they are driven to another location. They are released and taken down a secured basement where a special handshake commences before being welcomed by a small band of other people similarly dressed.
Much like a good horror movie, the opening to SOUND OF MY VOICE is quite intense, full of mystery and suspense. I knew very little about the film when going into it, so I was caught off guard a little when the film introduced a woman named Maggie (played by Brit Marling who along with director Zal Batmanglij co-wrote the script), who claims to be from the future leading a small cult in preparation for a fallen world. Infiltrating the cult, Peter (Christopher Denham) and his girlfriend Lorna (Nicole Vicius) hope to come away with a compelling documentary exposing Maggie as a fraud.
The story isn’t overly complex or necessarily that intriguing but within the direction the story is presented in a very compelling fashion. The cinematography delivers a very claustrophobic feel as if Maggie is listening to Peter and Lorna’s inner thoughts and the walls are too close, creating no room to escape. The disorienting affect fits the story nicely as our two leads seem to fall deeper down the hole of what they so adamantly disbelieve. The music or lack their of is another example of wise decision making from the filmmaker, creating a realism that eerily makes the whole situation creepy rather than ridiculous. In fact, the one scene where a musical score is played over the action felt out of place and was perhaps the first time as an audience member where I felt disengaged.
The idea of people falling into cults is a sad truth and the inner workings of them is quite fascinating. I have trouble understanding how people stay true to them when they turn to abuse. I appreciate films like MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (click the link to read my review) that give a warningly insight to their inner workings. SOUND OF MY VOICE gives a glimpse to the power of a charismatic leader who can tap into people’s fears but approaches the topic with mystery rather than definites.
The story narrowly walks the line of being absurd, but the minimalist approach in SOUND OF MY VOICE makes for a more compelling film with a powerful ending. While the mystery isn’t the most convincing as the filmmakers clearly want to ask the question is she or isn’t she telling the truth, the film comes away with some very interesting scenes. The talent from everyone involved in the film including the actors, crew and especially director Zal Batmanglij is apparent and I look forward to their future projects.
Video: (1080p) A great looking picture.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The minimal audio is key in SOUND OF MY VOICE and the little sounds are excellent.
The Making of Sound of my Voice (4:15): The director and writer talk about the film.
Maggie Featurette (3:00): Scenes from the film intercut with interviews from cast and crew.
Fox Movie Channel Presents: Direct Effect Zal Batmanglij (4:58): The director actually gives a few nuggets interesting teaching tools for aspiring filmmakers within a minimal featurette.
Fox Movie Channel Presents: Writer’s Draft Brit Marling (4:57): The writer talks about the process between writing the script and being the actress.