Sound of My Voice

Directed By: Zal Batmanglij

Starring: Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius, and Brit Marling

Let's be real.  Cults are for suckers.  The weak-minded fools of the world believe any crap that their leaders spew, no matter how far-fetched it may be.  They just go along believing in their "wise" leaders and taking their marching orders.  That's what makes cult movies so interesting.  We get to watch these fools in action or what we imagine them to be.  Zal Batmanglij's Sound of My Voice takes things one step further than the traditional cult flick.  It's a cult movie about making a cult movie.

Couple Peter Aitken (Christopher Denham) and Lorna Michaelson (Nicole Vicius) are trying to make a documentary on a cult.  To do so, they attempt to join a cult led by a young woman named Maggie (Brit Marling).  After going through some lengthy initiation rituals, they finally join the group and go to a basement in a secret location to meet the young leader.  When they meet Maggie, they learn of her story and that she's from the year 2054.  She's come back in time to help those who believe her to prepare for the civil war that's coming in the years ahead.  To get ready they have to cleanse their bodies and their minds of the poisons of the world.  For Peter and Lorna, this is the perfect kind of stuff for their documentary, so they're going to continue to participate in the cult's activities to get some more material.  They just don't realize that they may start believing in Maggie along the way.

Sound of My Voice has its lulls, but it's an entertaining flick overall.  The three main cast members deliver some enjoyable performances.  Christopher Denham's Peter and Nicole Vicius's Lorna are sane folks in an insane world.  They play it straight pretty well throughout the film.  They deliver quite a few laughs as they become more ingrained in the culture of the cult.  Brit Marling's Maggie is the star of the show.  Marling delivers one hell of a performance as the time-traveling savior.  She's aloof, alert, and alluring all at the same time.  Marling brings everything you'd expect in a cult leader to the character of Maggie.

Director Zal Batmanglij builds a dark, melancholic world in Sound of My Voice.  Batmanglij crafts a really intriguing film here that captures the essence of cults.  Whether the cult is singing "Dreams" by the Cranberries or vomiting together in group exercises, everything centers around Brit Marling's Maggie and her tragic or crazy story.  He offers either a world that's bound to be thrown into the destructive chaos of civil war or a world where idiots will eat earthworms just because some nut confined to a basement says so. 

Sound of My Voice is a film that definitely leaves plenty of questions unanswered, but in a good way.  Skeptics and pragmatists are bound to think that Maggie is just another nut, while more imaginative and adventurous viewers may be inclined to think that she is who she says she is.  The ending is a bit ambiguous, and everything hinges on her cult's super secret handshake.  I don't know the answer as to whether Maggie's story is true.  It's not my choice.  It's yours to decide what you think.  The only choice I can make is the STMR rating for this flick.  Sound of My Voice gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a couple of glasses of Moscato with this one.