SOUND OF MY VOICE — Two would-be investigative journalists—Peter, a third grade teacher in an all-girls school, and his girlfriend Lorna—go underground to expose a secret cult led by Maggie, a beautiful charismatic woman (Brit Marling) who claims to be from the future and is amassing followers in the basement of a suburban home.
Peter and Lorna want to do something that matters. But will that “something” be exposing the cult or wind up being sucked in by it? For one can readily see they are also unwitting fodder for Maggie. Peter is the product of a lonely childhood after his mother suddenly died and “abandoned” him. Lorna, the daughter of a Hollywood film producer, has spent a wasted adolescence at club parties and movie openings.
As the two plot how to hide a tiny camera, we hear Obama’s voice in the background commenting on the Gulf BP oil spill caused by an underground explosion: nice metaphor for what’s about to happen as they go underground.
There are amazing scenes in this movie that I won’t spoil by describing them. This film is, in part, about the future though the climactic plot strand—beginning with a request by Maggie of the skeptical Peter—involves an eight-year-old girl (one of Peter’s students) about to go on a field trip to the beginning of time at the La Brea Tar Pits. It’s a nice irony; and it’s where all the answers lie waiting in this questing film.
Like ANOTHER EARTH (also written by and starring Brit Marling), this is a personal human drama with a sci-fi background whose tautness never lets up, and that moves to a perfect and profound resolution bordering on the metaphysical. The style of both films is to negotiate the sensational in a matter-of-fact way that sucks you in.
One of the defining elements of a cult is secret knowledge. In this film, all of the characters wind up having secrets from one another: everybody is his or her own cult. It’s fair to say that Brit Marling is developing one of her own. This is a film that has you in its grip all the way.