Movie Review: Sound of My Voice / Cert: 15 / Director: Zal Batmanglij / Screenplay: Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij / Starring: Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius, Brit Marling / Release Date: TBC
Time travel, cults, mass vomit sessions and worm eating all come together in this low budget sci-fi film from first time feature director Zal Batmanglij. Co-written with Brit Marling who also co-wrote Another Earth and similar in its distinct, haunting tone and powerful performances. Maggie (Brit Marling) claims to be from the future, the year 2054 to be exact, and she has returned to take her loved ones and a specially chosen group to a safe place before civil war breaks out. The chosen ones are checked out before entering, but a couple of investigative journalists have infiltrated this cult, set on exposing its leader.
Peter Aitken (Christpher Denham) and Lorna Michaelson (Nicole Vicius) are the two journalists who get embroiled in a web of intrigue and emotional manipulation. The film looks to their pasts with some documentary style camera action (complete with voiceover) to explain their motivations and reveal their secrets. From the start the focus is on these two characters and their intense relationship with Maggie. Peter’s wry logical response to the cult is aimed well at the non-believers in the audience and Denham delivers his dialogue with sharpness. Marling is menacing as the softly spoken Christ-like cult leader Maggie and moves around the group like they are prey. The cult members’ response to her presence is reverence and those that question her don’t last long. She shifts between godly and ghastly with such skill you are never sure whether her intentions are good.
The film is laid out in ten distinct chapters that drive the narrative along by slowly revealing snippets of each of the mains characters’ lives and the unfolding truth. Batmanglij has assembled this film extremely well by focusing on the journey the characters go on and merging it with a fascinating idea about a woman who is either from the future or a dangerous megalomaniac. All the pieces of the puzzle come together in a poignant and illuminating ending that will leave you wanting more.
Sound of My Voice stands out amongst other low budget sci-fi due to the strong directorial hand and originality. The tone is immaculate, focusing on the ideas and backed by a strong script that has room for humour that will make you laugh out loud but doesn’t veer away from the intensity. Claustrophobic camera angles, witty believable dialogue and a pitch perfect performance from Marling make for cleverly constructed sci-fi.
Expected: 8 out of 10