Early in Sound of My Voice, the fabulously eerie, remarkably clever tiny psychological thriller barely in theaters right now, a couple is taken through the initial motions of attending their first cult session. (Is "session" the right word? Do cults have sessions? Get-togethers? Do they chill? Conspire? Meet?)
Anyway, Peter and Lorna are taken to a suburban home, told to disrobe, shower, and put on a hospital gown before they are handcuffed, blindfolded, eased into a minivan, and driven to another suburban home where they are led downstairs and told to sit patiently with the other members. After a few moments, out walks Maggie, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed goddess hidden behind a white shawl. Maggie says she’s from the future, and she’s here now to collect a group of people to take with her. Where? I’m not really sure, but that’s not exactly the point.
Soon after, it is revealed that Peter and Lorna are amateur documentarians secretly attempting to capture the inside of a cult. They aren’t buying into whatever Maggie is selling, and, as an audience, neither are we. Until, of course, we are. Maybe.
|Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius as Peter and Lorna|
Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius play Peter and Lorna respectively, and they play them well. Despite the fact that the actors have had bit roles in a number of films and TV shows, I can’t recall ever seeing them. No matter, what they do with their very complex, very evolving characters here is extremely satisfying. They’re challenging roles, and they both nail it.
Likewise Brit Marling, who plays Maggie as a calm, aware young woman who is just as confounded about why she is where she is when she is, as much as everyone else. You may remember Marling as the star of last summer’s Another Earth, which, like Sound of My Voice, she co-wrote and co-produced. Funny story: Marling, Mike Cahill (director of Another Earth) and Zal Batmanglij (director of Sound of My Voice) were three college friends who decided to make movies together. Both Another Earth and Sound of My Voice premiered at Sundance at the same time, and both are slowly letting people know that there are some fresh, new talents in town, and they need not be ignored.
|Brit Marling as Maggie|
So, is Maggie telling the truth? Is she indeed from the future, sent back inexplicably to recruit trusting followers? Hell if I’m going to tell you here. Instead, do your best to seek out what I consider the best film currently in theaters. And remember, look closer. A-