Friday, January 9, 2015

Sound of My Voice (2011)

I had no idea what to expect from this movie when I hit play, and it turned out that I was totally unprepared for it. Although I can't imagine anything that could prepare you for it. My best guess was that it was a horror. It was thoroughly unsettling, but to call it a "horror" doesn't quite do it justice. It is a piece of art. And, like the best and most effective horrors, instead of violence, it relies on mystery, to keep the viewer guessing. Right from the start, it succeeds in creating that truly terrifying atmosphere where you feel like you can't trust the director, and you don't know where the movie is going to end up, and you just don't feel safe.

On its own, this is a devastating technique, but it fits perfectly with the theme of the movie - a documentarian couple's undercover infiltration of a cult centered around an impossibly beautiful woman who claims to be from the future (a startlingly effective Brit Marling). Filmed mainly from the perspective of the infiltrators (but not in the first person, a la found footage), you feel intrinsically vulnerable, because you honestly don't know what the cult is capable of. Even when it fails to do anything obviously evil, you still can't trust it, especially when you see the effects it has on its members. Yet, at the same time, it is strangely captivating, and you're never quite sure what's true and what's a lie. Without relying on any disbelief-suspending tricks, you witness how this cult manages to seduce people (audience included), even as it fails to provide hard evidence to prove its unbelievable claims. It's devastating. And a haunting piece of cinema.

No comments:

Post a Comment