By Freddy Mayhew

In a time of bountiful blockbuster movies, where hulking superheroes assemble against an impossible enemy and distant solar-systems conceal the origins to Man’s life on Earth, it’s refreshing to find something that discards with the CGI and focuses instead on its singular, intriguing premise. 

Could you believe someone if they told you they were from the future? 

Sound Of My Voice directed by Zal Batmanglij – who co-wrote the screenplay alongside Brit Marling, also the film’s mesmeric lead – piles on the intrigue even before the screen flickers into life in your local cinema. 

If, like me, you caught wind of the ability to watch the film’s first 12 minutes online for free – a canny promotional ploy that just flat works – you will have no stronger desire than to know the outcome of the tantalising events introduced. 

Two investigative journalists, Peter (Christopher Denham) and his girlfriend Lorna (Nicole Vicius) have discovered a cult whose leader claims to be from the future. 

Maggie (Brit Marling) says she has travelled back from the year 2033 (the film is set in the present day) to save people from a future that heralds war and famine. Her following is small but dedicated and readily accepts her time-travelling tendencies as a truthful account. 

At first a cynic, Peter soon begins to doubt his conviction in Maggie’s artifice and as his belief in the rational is challenged and slowly eroded, so too is his relationship with Lorna. 

Undeniably the film stands on the shoulders of Brit Marling, who is enrapturing, enchanting, enthralling (take your pick) as cult leader Maggi. It’s almost as if the part was written for her…which of course it was. 

I’ve seen other reviewers claiming Sound of My Voice to be a clever insight in to the world of cults and how they function. I personally don’t agree, the film could have taken any number of twists and turns, but while it never quite descends into full sci-fi (if Maggi is a cyborg she keeps it well hidden), sci-fi is what it unmistakeably is. 

Where it excels is in keeping the viewer in doubt over this fact. Like Peter, with each new revelation we are constantly passing from believing Maggi’s story to being sure she’s a fraud. This makes for compelling viewing throughout but sadly fizzles out with the film’s conclusion and a scene singularly devoid of the spectacular climax it deserved. It makes the film, as a whole, feel slightly incomplete but goes some way in maintaining the enigmatic tone of the piece. 

All in all Sound Of My Voice is an absorbing tale that, rich with intrigue, keeps the viewer guessing throughout. Denham and Marling’s performances are riveting and when the credits role you’ll simply wonder where the time went. Plus, like all good sci-fi, you’ll still be talking about it when you put the kettle on. 

The first 12 minutes of Sound of My Voice is available to watch for free at  Warning: Do so and you’ll have no choice but to go and watch the whole film!

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