Friday, May 11, 2012

"Sound of My Voice" review: Subtly brilliant, edge of your seat puzzler

"Sound of My Voice" is the story of two documentary filmmakers who decide to infiltrate a San Fernando Valley based cult headed by a mysterious woman by the name of Maggie who claims she is from the year 2054.

I'd heard about this film early in the year and was finally witness to the first twelve minutes of the movie at Wondercon. A booth on the exhibit hall floor had white clothed individuals exchanging a strange hand gestured greeting to help promote the upcoming release. I'd have to say my initial interest was the possible time travel aspect, although it was well shrouded as to whether the character of Maggie truly was from the future or just a con artist out to sway a group of innocents. This is how the documentary filmmakers in the story view this operation. Are they wrong?

"SOMV" is a seriously intriguing puzzle of a movie with some real edge-of-your-seat moments. It will have you guessing right up until the striped down, subtle yet extremely powerful climax. The performances are solid and the camera work is top notch for a movie that was mostly financed off credit cards and donations of locations, vehicles and wardrobe from friends and associates.

There's almost a "Twilight Zone" quality to this film. Some critics are commenting about how it's a commentary on the uses of persuasion in a closed group. That's certainly there but for me it was always 'is she or isn't she' and the path that leads to a possible answer.

Tidbits here and there along the way will beg for an explanation, yet some are best left up to your own conclusion. Sort of in the way you might've wondered what Scarlett Johansson whispers into Bill Murray's ear at the end of "Lost in Translation". A couple of story elements don't have a true payoff but rather seem destined for a second film, and that's OK. By the time the movie ends you see that that's exactly what should happen!

Subtly brilliant in it's execution, "Sound of My Voice" is all about the intricacies of what lengths people will go through to learn the truth...with so much wonderfully left up to your imagination. Far more than what any multi-million dollar budget could show you or flesh out in unnecessary exactness.


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