Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sound Of My Voice

SOUND OF MY VOICE (2011) begins in a promising tone of mystery and intrigue, as investigative journalist Peter and his girlfriend Lorna infiltrate a cult meeting. They tolerate a paranoid selection process for new recruits and learn the silly handshakes required for exclusive membership. Peter has a secret plan to expose the new age scam being perpetrated by young ‘guru’ Maggie (Brit Marling, Another Earth), apparently a con artist who claims to be from the future, and very allergic to the present, while she promises an unspecified ‘salvation’ from, presumably, an anticipated doomsday event.

Her growing clique of easily-led followers indulge in psychodrama sessions, intended as mind cleansing self–help therapy. But is Maggie a cellar–dwelling conceited recluse, just a sappy loony, or is she actually dangerous? At first, the lack of sympathetic protagonists, and the ridiculous campiness of some supporting characters, fosters disinterest in this scenario. It is often hard to take mysteries about cults very seriously and here the lack of any credible evidence means that Maggie’s crazy concocted story has more obvious holes than a golf course infested with moles.

Typical nutty shenanigans ensue; such as eating live worms: “It’s the new you.” A child-kidnapping strategy targets an autistic girl that Maggie reveals will, in the future, become her mother. The twist–ending abandons its pretentious Sundance–bait ambiguity as police swoop in to rescue the little girl. Director Zal Batmanglij previously made a short film The Recordist (which also stars Marling) and, seeing as this feature is only 85 minutes, it could have been included as a disc extra but, sadly, it is not. Why? I have no idea, but it might have added a bit more value to a hi–def release where the main feature proves to be rather disappointing.

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