18. Sound of My Voice
Director: Zal Batmanglij
Stars: Brit Marling, Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius, Davenia McFadden, Kandice Stroh, Richard Wharton
Movies about a character’s immersion into a dangerous cult are nothing new—it was only a few months ago that the indie scene gave us Martha Marcy May Marlene. Exciting young filmmakers Brit Marling (star/co-writer) and Zal Batmanglij (director/co-writer) were operating under very imaginative guises when conceiving Sound of My Voice, though, and the final product is a vibrant, unsettling descent into The Twilight Zone by way of a twisty, J.J. Abrams-style television series.
Marling owns the film as Maggie, a creepy yet alluring cult leader who secretly gathers her white-robed followers in a Los Angeles basement, claims to be from the future, and is a master at deconstructing her weaker minions. One of whom is Peter (Christopher Denham), a journalist going undercover into Maggie’s world, determined to expose the group’s inner workings.
Marling and Batmanglij structure Sound of My Voice episodically, padding the smart and enigmatic script with multiple reveals, each more invigorating than the previous one, and an overall sense of slick ambiguity.