Coming hot on the heels of the brilliant Another Earth is the second feature film co-written and starring Brit Marling, Sound of My Voice. Like Another Earth, this too features a science fiction premise that hovers in the background without ever becoming the focus.
The film opens as Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius) are in the midst of infiltrating a cult. They’ve passed all the preliminary tests with flying colours and submitted to the rather outlandish requirements of entry to the cult’s secret headquarters. There, they meet the mysterious Maggie (Marling), the softly spoken and charismatic leader of the group who claims to have returned to them from the year 2054. As a journalist, Peter is determined to expose the cult and Maggie for the sham that she is, but as time goes on he and Lorna are forced to decide just how far they’ll go to achieve their aim.
First of all, Marling is wonderful in the role of Maggie. Aside from being reserved, she is completely different from her portrayal of Rhoda in Another Earth. Where Rhoda was apprehensive and broken, Maggie is confident and warm. It’s easy to see how the other cult members could be so taken with her. Marling, however, is not the focus of the film. It’s Peter and Lorna who are the central characters, and they work wonderfully as a couple. Their moments of pure ambition, wonder and apprehension at what is going on before them are truly palpable, and if it wasn’t for such well-written characters, we’d find it hard to believe that they’d go to the lengths they do.
This is a quiet, subtle film, though it most definitely belongs in the ‘slow burn thriller’ category. Though not thrill a minute, there is a definite sense of pace and I was constantly wondering what would happen next. The film mightn’t be quite as satisfying as Another Earth overall, but it’s just as entrancing.
There are some strange decisions in the screenplay that put me offside. A couple of times we follow subsidiary characters, thus foreshadowing their significance later on. I don’t have any suggestions as to how it could have been done differently, but the film has such a narrow focus that such scenes seemed a little out of place, bordering on gauche. These are minor quibbles, however.
Another excellent entry into the recent glut of subtle and intelligent science fiction films, Sound of My Voice is a powerful and effective study of a couple under pressure and their willingness to risk everything to achieve their aims.Rating: