SOUND OF MY VOICE: More reviews on opening day
Let's start with Robert Abele from the LA Times:
With storytelling economy and dramatic precision often missing from today's independent films, Batmanglij augments the building blocks for a nifty paranoid thriller with sharp commentary on our faction-centered society and the pitfalls of reinvention. Batmanglij's tonal command is often unsettling: Scenes with knife's-edge narrative tension surprise with moments of astute characterization and vice versa.
Manohla Dargis from the New York Times also received SOUND OF MY VOICE quite positively:
From the start, when the word one slams on the screen, beginning a count that divides the story into 10 sections, Zal Batmanglij gives the movie an appreciable air of unease. [...] [He creates] a plausible, recognizable world about characters engaged in that most fundamental search: for the meaning of life. Brit Marling, who also starred in and was a writer on the recent independent feature, ANOTHER EARTH another low budget movie that intelligently made the most of its limited means, appears to be on her way to figuring out that question.
Mary Pols of Time.com also raves, saying:
Batmanglijs pacing is very deliberate, and marvelously, he leaves open the dueling possibilities of science fiction and a much more mundane reality. The movie explores the basic debate over faith, the idea that we can feel a sense of relief in cynicism realized and turn around and face the horror of our lack of faith in the next moment. At one point Maggie tells her followers shell be gone soon, but theyll still always be able to hear the sound of my voice. Shell haunt their minds. Sound of My Voice performs a similar dark magic.
Being a sci-fi film at its heart, Angela Watercutter from Wired.com is also on-board:
Thank Brit Marling. Like she did with her previous co-writing/starring turn in Another Earth, shes built a character with unclear motives that still manages to elicit undying affection, both from other actors in the scene and from audiences peering at the screen. As Maggie, the head of the unnamed cult, Marling can question her followers and break down their spirits to the point that they are in tears, all while conveying a subtle warmth that makes people want to follow her every whim. Shes positively magnetic.
Paste Magazine gave SOUND OF MY VOICE a rating of "phenomenal" (!!!):
Co-written by director Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (who plays Maggie), Sound of My Voice relentlessly simmers and threatens to boil over at any moment. Along with the writers and cinematographer Rachel Morrison, the cast ratchets the tension tight and never lets up. The story grows more intricate as other characters and complications appear without explanation, and we are left, like Peter and Lorna, to grope our way through and endeavor to separate fact from fantasy.
And the film fans at IndieWire's The Playlist gave the film a top grade of A:
Zal Batmanglijs directorial debut creates the milieu of limited visual possibilities that nonetheless brims with ideas. [...] Batmanglijs first feature is assured in that he has made a film that defies easy categorization. He begins the action in media res with a smash cut-aided opening that establishes the meticulous preparation and guardedly hostile process one undergoes to meet Maggie. But once we are face to face with Maggie, her guise angelic, the environment serene, we are immediately lulled into a sense of security. Theres a superficial kindness and warmth to the pseudo-spiritual therapy sessions that Maggie hosts, but Peters darting, nervous eyes remind us of the underlying tension, and the fear that, if you were to disappear from the group, you would disappear forever. Though the relatively unremarkable environment -- patchy walls, barren floors -- allows you to forget that this is a fairly science fiction premise, few filmmakers can do so much with such a sparse setting.
For a comprehensive list of when are where SOUND OF MY VOICE is opening near you, check out our Theater Post here.