Sound of My Voice (2012)

I guess all you need to do to join a cult is know a simple game of patty cake? Sweet.

A mysterious cult lead by a woman from the future named Maggie (Brit Marling), who claims to be from the year 2054, all come together in a random basement where they speak, heal, and show comfort for one another, while also being able to see who’s worth being apart of it and who’s not. A young couple (Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius) hear about this group through the grapevine, and decide that this is not only their time to shine and expose it for all that it is, but also do something with their lives that isn’t just sitting around, drinking beer, and being hipsters all day and night. However, like with most groups people join, they at first resent it, but after awhile, get used to all of it’s odd idiosyncrasies and become more and more glued into the world the group has created. Will it be too late until one of them notices it, and figures out what the hell is really going on?

Movies such as this not only drive me up the walls, but have me thinking about them for days on end. Maybe you could put those two claims in the same category, since most films that drive me up the wall, are the ones I continue to think about, day-after-day, but this one was a bit different. It was a bit different because it drove me up the wall for the reason that I didn’t quite get it, and in a way; I felt like the movie didn’t want me too either. It’s not that the movie kept on tricking me into believing everything I was seeing was real, but it had me tossing and turning about what was real and what wasn’t, and then, at the end: decided to give me a big old “fuck you” and make me think even more. But still, something did not seem all that right in the end. Is it just me, or is the movie itself?

No need for the cape, but whatever, it's a cult for godsakes!
No need for the cape, but whatever, it’s a cult for godsakes!

Well, the questions in my mind may continue to arise and joggle around in my mind, but for the most part, I have to say that this flick did it’s job in terms of making me feel tense and as if anything could happen. Director Zal Batmanglij does a nice job at setting this story up right at the beginning, so we know what we’re getting ourselves into, when, and why, but never answers the where and the how. Basically, all of that is left up to us to make up our minds with through either our own interpretations, or the evidence that he sometimes, or sometimes doesn’t, present us with throughout the whole movie. As I said, it’s a tricky movie to get used to for a bit, but once you do get past all of the freaky-deakey, cult shit, the movie gets better and you feel yourself more glued into what the hell is actually going on.

But, like I said before, the movie presents all of those questions and comes to giving us a reasonable-solution, but still ends very, very vague, and for a reason I’m still having a hard time trying to grip. It isn’t that this movie is confusing because I’m an idiot, wasn’t paying attention, and had the movie playing, simultaneously with my porn (although all factors might as well have been true), it’s because it’s confusing, for the sake of being confusing. Certain things happen for no reason, only to come up again later on in the movie to make you think a bit more, and literally, random shit will happen, just to happen, and be left at that. No real reason other than to make us feel like these cast of characters are bad news, and that we should be just as cautious of them as our main protagonists are.

In Batmanglij’s case as director, most of it does work, and most of it doesn’t. And when I speak of the latter, I mainly mean the last 5 minutes or so. See, this isn’t the type of movie that’s all about giving us the ultimate, breath-taking climax that’s there to make sense of everything and spell it all out for us. It’s vague, random, and quite anti-climactic. Usually, I applaud films for doing that because it does take a major pair of balls to take an audience up-and-down the road, only to throw them to the side of the curb, as if they have just missed out on something, and feel fine with yourself afterwards. However, at the same time, I still can’t help but feel like there were bits and pieces that were missing from the movie as a whole, to honestly make as much sense as it should have. Or, for that matter, to have the ending hit me more like a ton of bricks than it should.

I don’t know if the blame is to be solely on Batmanglij and co-writer Marling for that aspect of the movie, but something did not mix well when the gears in my head really started grinding and turning. It’s like a huge puzzle that you know what it looks like in the end, and you have it just about done, but, since it’s a puzzle that’s been around for so long, certain pieces are missing and you don’t have them all to make the puzzle look exactly, piece-by-piece like the picture it’s supposed to make up. Don’t know if that makes anymore sense than I’ve tried to already get across, but regardless; something with this ending didn’t feel right, and left me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Maybe it was supposed to, or maybe it wasn’t. All I know, is that I wanted answers, dammit!

And nobody has pulled over for her? Definitely science-fiction!
And nobody has pulled over for her? Definitely science-fiction!

The one person in this movie who deserves the fingers pointed at her for all of the vagueness this movie has to offer, is all from Brit Marling as Maggie, and as co-writer of the movie. Marling’s character is a very mysterious one that is all about messing with other people’s minds, getting them to admit what they don’t want to, and finding out who they really are, yet, doesn’t seem to come to terms with who she really is. Marling always feels like she’s one step ahead of the others around her in any movie, and here, it works perfectly because you never know what’s up with this chick, what she’s going to pull-off next, and just who the heck she truly is. Some of the resolutions to those ideas are revealed, and others, are not. All I do know is that this chick can act, and sure as hell write her ass-off as well.

Playing the stand-in for us, the audience, is Christopher Denham as Peter, the wanna-be documentarian whose idea this was in the first place. Denham is fine with what he has to do as Peter, even though I feel like his character was a bit too soft to really convince us that he would stay strong against the cult, considering it’s pretty obvious once one something happens to him, and we are confused about what to think. Then again, that could have all been in the act in the first place. You never know! Then, there’s Nicole Vicius as his girlfriend who seems to be a little bit more place in the real world, where she doesn’t believe in time-travel, aliens, or any of that hullabaloo. She just believes in love and finding the truth, and that’s it. Go get em, girlfrand!

Consensus: The ending is sure to make more than enough people irate and mad, but for awhile, Sound of My Voice does a fine job at creating tension, suspense, and mystery, over a plot that doesn’t expand any further than a bunch of weirdo cult people, doing weirdo, cult-ish things.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

"Look at me and think, "Is this shit weird enough yet?"
“Look at me and think, “Is this shit weird enough yet?”


  1. I’m very, very interested in this solely because of Brit Marling. She’s a beauty and she writes all of her own roles (how cool is that?) Have you seen Another Earth Dan? I’d recommend it, although it’s extremely low budget.

  2. Dan, your response was very similar to mine. I was intrigued by the experience yet felt a bit hollow about the whole thing. It’s nearly the same reaction that I had to Martha Marcy May Marlene. There are strong performances and I’m glad to have seen the movies, but there’s something nagging at me about the experience. Excellent work!

  3. I don’t know if the film ended up having the viewership needed for it, but back when they were doing the press circuit for the film they kept on talking about how they’d love to make a sequel if the film did well.

    Also I didn’t have a problem with the ending like you did, but I do understand what you mean. It’s probably mostly due to the writers very specifically laying out the story so that all the clues could point to either possible outcome of the story (either she’s a con or she’s actually from the future). That sort of storytelling makes for wonderful discussion, but also for a very unsatisfying experience for others.

  4. I agree with your thoughts in that the movie’s is like a unfinished puzzle. I wanted a third act. Not saying it had to solve anything, but for me it felt like the movie ran out of Money

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