Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review of SOUND OF MY VOICE (2012)

- Rated R for language including some sexual references, and brief drug use.
- Starring Brit Marling, Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius
- Written by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij
- Directed by Zal Batmanglij
- Running time: 1hr 25min

I didn't know anything about this one going in, and I think that's the best way to experience it.  I will be talking about things (no major spoilers) about the actual plot, but those that want to walk into this blind may want to stop reading.  Fair warning.

The movie effectively starts off by showing a couple being blindfolded and taken to a suburban house.  There they are put into a room with a few other couples all dressed in white hospital gowns.  They are all there to see Maggie, a young woman who claims she is from the future.  The couple at the beginning was Peter and Lorna.  Peter is an investigative journalist who is trying to make a documentary about dangerous cults.  He has a camera in his glasses to film what goes on.  But while they're in the cult, the couple begin to grow attached to Maggie in different ways.  And questions are raised:  Is she really from the future?  Why does Maggie want the cult to kidnap a child?  The tension builds, leading up to the climax.

I'm really starting to fall in love with Brit Marling.  She's an actress who was frustrated with the kinds of roles she was being offered (usually bimbos in horror films), so she decided to write roles for herself in movies that she would want to see.  Her previous film ANOTHER EARTH was interesting and unique, but didn't quite work for me.  This one succeeds much more.  The story unfolds slowly, pulling the viewer in gradually. 

Marling proves that she's not a one trick pony.  Her Maggie is assertive, vulnerable, and very mysterious.  She's more than convincing as she makes the viewer guess if she's the real deal or just a hoax.  Christopher Denham does a fine job as Peter, though Nicole Vicius as Lorna is the weakest of the bunch.  But it doesn't really matter, cause for me, the story was very compelling.  Once it gets into the kidnapping plot, I was left wondering how it was going to end. 

Director Zal Batmangli (who also co-wrote the script with Marling) does a fantastic job creating tension by filming with mostly handheld cameras and lots of close-ups.  It's not super shaky, but just enough movement to make one feel uneasy, which was appropriate for the film.  I love unique original films like this.  It's not really like anything I've seen before.  It's kind of hard to review, cause I don't want to give too much away.  It's just a joy to watch it all unfold and figure it out for yourself.

Those that like movies spelled out for them will hate this.  It's one of those movies where people are going to be arguing about what it all means, just like ANOTHER EARTH.  If this kind of special effect-less Sci-Fi gets you excited, definitely check it out.  It's smart, well acted with a nifty premise.  And Brit Marling is amazing to watch!  It's a haunting film that creates a certain vibe that stuck with me long after it was over. 

***1/2 (out of ****)

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