Sound of My Voice (2011)
To begin with this film really annoyed me. It felt like a major cop out of an ending, which failed to bring together the countless loose ends it had gathered to construct tension (brilliantly, I should add). None of the already ambiguous parts added up to a convincing enough version of events, no matter which way they were framed. The more I thought about this though the more it makes perfect sense considering the subject matter. If you haven’t heard people fawning over it already, the film follows a journalist and his girlfriend who infiltrate a cult, whose leader claims to be from the future, with the intention of making a documentary.
The list of questions which are left unanswered by the film is astounding. I could offer largely unsubstantiated theories about what it all means, and before the films most likely aim struck me that’s what I did. However the lack of answers offered seems to mirror the level of uncertainty which faces those getting involved with a cult, and which faces Peter & Lorna; It’s a case of going along with things without any real logical explanation, “Like anything new, it will be impossible for your mind to digest” she tells them, or to risk opting out of the undeniable intrigue. The audience are placed in a similar position as the characters, where we are compelled to see things out in a bid to make sense of it all. Once I started thinking about the film in this way, the more I think it’s actually pretty clever.
That is purely from an analytic point of view, the more casual viewer’s fury is unlikely to subside in consideration of oppositional cinema theories. This is possibly the best way to consider it though, because it fails to offer any answers or even to point towards more likely scenarios. It reads to me like a satire/critique of contemporary thriller using Hollywood’s (or perhaps more popular independent cinema culture’s) own methods to expose the superficiality of the overly complex and often muddled narratives, imploring the audience to ‘think for themselves’, which have become common place in recent years. As if that ought to be a novel new exercise for them. This reading gives the film a much more layered quality, and in my opinion makes it far more worthwhile. That’s my take on it anyway, you might argue I’m offering too much credit to the films failures or over analysing the purpose of its ambiguity, but the competence of the set up makes it hard to believe it just doesn’t make any sense.