At last year's Sundance Film Festival two films that stood out were Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Sound of My Voice. Both films offer a look inside what has been branded as something to fear. While Martha Marcy is about recovering from cult life, Sound of My Voice focus on the process of joining one. It's basic premise is a film producer's dream: A young woman living in a basement claims to be from the future and gradually recruits followers. Known only as Maggie (Brit Marling), she is unable to go out in public because she's allergic to the present.
When Peter (Christopher Denham) and Lorna (Nicole Vicius), a young couple, learn of the woman's existence they decide to make a documentary about her. Each evening they are picked up by a van, told to shower, and given mental patient-like attire to change into. At first, sneaking in a camera and infiltrating a group of believers is exciting and livens their mundane relationship. But when Maggie begins to single Peter out, Lorna grows jealous and accuses Paul of believing her absurd claims. As Peter's skepticism starts to dissipate his relationship suffers and it's clear he's involved in something much grander than a film.
Sound of My Voice is twisted, thought provoking, and ambiguous. It brilliantly weaves in elements of science fiction, while portraying human desperation. Far more inventive than much of the popcorn fluff out there, it's bound to be talked about for years to come.
A graduate of the NYU Media and Communications program, Justine has studied film and journalism in...