"I'm willing to go all the way. How far are you going to go?"
SOUND OF MY VOICE is startlingly believable. It's about a homeless woman named Maggie (Brit Marling), a supposed time-traveler who has been sent back to protect her believers from an unknown apocalypse. She goes from derelict to messiah in a short time. Her spoutings of the future attract a certain crowd, and before long has accumulated a following. The terrifying thing is, this shit happens all the time. It's called religion.
People that are missing something in their lives are in a constant search to fill the void. And many times, it's stuffed by words and hopes of better tomorrows. One of the scariest words in the English language is 'worship.' It brings people down on their knees, fuels wars. Simply put, religion is the worst. On a related note, I threw up in church once during a midnight mass at Christmas. My mom will tell you it was from the smell of the incense, but I'd argue it was the unrelenting praying.
VOICE starts abruptly. Two unknown figures ride in a van to an undisclosed location. They are brought inside a home, take showers while painstakingly scrubbing away any lingering dirt or inhibitions. These two we learn are Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius), lovers and wanna-be documentarians looking to expose Maggie for the fraud she is. They go to great lengths to shed light on the truth: hidden cameras in glasses, swallowing receivers to record information.
Peter is a teacher at a private school. We're shown mere glimpses of his past, one that still haunts him through the death of his mother. Maggie uses this information to break down Peter's barriers, ingratiating him in her favor. A truly unsettling scene happens when Maggie's cult sits in a circle, snacking on apples. She instructs them to vomit, purging themselves of their stomachs contents, and more importantly, their fears. Peter is at first reluctant, but Maggie's coddling nature slowly begins to crack his armor.
At first glance, Maggie is completely absurd. She enters the wall-to-wall carpeted basement room frailly, an oxygen tank in tow. Later, when asked to sing a future song from her time, she begins to chant 'Dreams' by the Cranberries, eliciting chuckles from both her guests and the audience alike. There's something about Peter that draws Maggie towards him. It is because of this, and his daytime profession, that she confronts him with a task that fuels the last act of the very quick 87-minute running time.
Marling is a newcomer to the screen. She starred and co-wrote 2011's ANOTHER EARTH--the latter she does in VOICE as well. It's evident between her first two pictures that she has a fresh vision. Something that's even more striking as we trudge through countless sequels or reimaginings that currently inflict our theatres. I enjoyed VOICE quite a lot, actually. Right up until the end, it kept me guessing on what was in store for us. Is Maggie a hoax, simply a fanatic amassing her own private militia? Or can the completely implausible somehow be true? Marling's ethereal look and performance is hard to ignore. As the film goes on, you'll find yourself gravitating towards her and her movement, something that only an hour or so before would have seemed entirely laughable.