Sound of my Voice screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Cults are bad. It’s the premise of every film made about those groups that deal in mental manipulation and Kool-aid. Sound of My Voice plays the usual mind games you’d expect from a film about misguided worship, but there is more on offer than just white cloaks and false prophets.
A school teacher/amateur journalist/documentary filmmaker and his girlfriend become members of a cult to expose the leader as a suspected fraud.
The mystery of the plot is engaging and writer/director Zal Batmanglij and co-writer Brit Marling, keep things mystifying enough up to the finale and possibly hours after. Cracking the code is a tad rewarding but it does feel like parts of the film are missing. The vagueness of it all translates into a feeling of being short-changed and that mutes the impact of the film.
The weakest element of the Sound of My Voice is everything related to the cult. Damaged people being taken advantage of, a leader with questionable motives and weird behaviour is all standard brainwashing material for a film of this nature. Marling plays the leader of the organisation and her performance lacks charisma. There a moments of malice and kindness from Marling but she never sucks you in.
Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicious carry most of the film well despite having to deliver rickety dialogue.
Sound of My Voice is a light puzzler that’s not as complex as a rubix cube but more akin to a simple cryptic crossword.
Cameron Williams - follow Cam on Twitter here: @popcornjunkies
Sound of My Voice does not have an Australian or US release date.