Sunday, November 11, 2012

Under 250: The Sound of My Voice

The Sound of My Voice is a sort of muddled variation on two of the three noticeably repeated themes that seem to have been preoccupying indie cinema (and occasionally seeping into the studios) since early last year.  Specifically: the nature of cult and the possibility of time travel (the third is, of course, the end of the world).   Another Earth's Brit Marling stars as Maggie, the quietly enigmatic leader of a mysterious cult.  Maggie claims to be from the year 2054, and the film approaches her claim from a position of doubt.  While Maggie is at the film's center, the story's framework is built around a couple's undercover attempt to crack the mystery from the inside. They want to to expose Maggie as a liar and make a name for themselves as they film a sneakily shot documentary.  It's an intriguing premise, and one that admittedly allows for some startling performances from its leads.

As we get to know Maggie, as we get to see her maybe fumble or maybe not, as we first doubt her than wonder, as her possible motives may be revealed, the film carries itself with a cool intellectualism that seems, almost, to trick the viewer into subjugation.  The Sound of My Voice seems as though it's doing something clever, as though it's saying something new, but ultimately the ending belies its own uncertainty.  Where I don't have a problem with an unsatisfying or sudden conclusion, The Sound of My Voice has an ending that reads as though the filmmakers themselves actually couldn't decide which possible ending they wanted to run with and decided to try instead to leave it up to the audience.  Problem is...usually there aren't this many threads left hanging at the moment of supposed resolution.  See it for the middle section, don't say I didn't warn you.

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