Re-View: Sound of My Voice | On Demand
We take a second look at Zal Batmanglij’s indie cult drama.
Our first look “The loopy, off-kilter pace and frontal-lobe frying provide their own peerless, unconventional pleasures.”
Another view Like the specious gospel of a charismatic charlatan, Sound of My Voice falls apart the minute you grant it a shred of serious thought. The film seems designed to provoke wild theories and endless conversations, yet solving its central mystery entails ignoring some clues in favor of others. The enigmatic plot revolves around Maggie (cowriter and Another Earth star Brit Marling), an ethereal beauty who claims to have traveled back in time from a dystopia to lead a cabal of true believers. Is she the real deal or a false prophet? A pair of documentary filmmakers (Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius) assume the latter. They infiltrate her cult in hopes of exposing her as a fraud, but soon they find their righteous certainty wavering.
There’s a hushed fascination in the moments when Marling’s spookily manipulative sage imparts wisdom to her flock. (In the film’s best scene, the actress strums out a haunting, acoustic rendition of the Cranberries’ “Dreams.”) Yet the longer Sound of My Voice plays coy, the more its plot holes multiply. Most problematic is the sudden appearance of a government agent whose sole function is to provide lots of crucial, damning information. Depending on how you read the wanna-be mindblower of a finale, said revelations constitute either a dangling story strand or a logically inconsistent mislead. Is Maggie a fraud or a messiah? It’s a tough call, given that neither explanation makes a lick of sense. (Available on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray Tue 2.)