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The Sound of My Handshake

The Sound of My Handshake

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Published by CalBruin
a brief essay on the movie "The Sound of My Voice".
a brief essay on the movie "The Sound of My Voice".

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Published by: CalBruin on Sep 28, 2012
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05/15/2014

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"The Sound of My Handshake"The central mystery depends upon the final handshaking scene. As the film makersintended, the audience is left wandering and debating about the true meaning ofeverything especially whether or not Maggie did arrive from the future. Searching formeaning, where none may exist, and distracted, nay, coaxed along by deliberateambiguous scenes e.g. Abigail's home life, the Department of Justice agent's hotelroom debugging search.For me, the movie works well not because of Maggie's enigmatic charisma, or the KarlRove/Rahm Emanuel man behind the woman, Klaus, or the superfluous mysteries, e.g.Abigail's narcolepsy. The strength of the movie comes from the blunders of the maincharacters.One the hallmarks of every cult is the separation of inductees from friends and familythat they know. Great example is the split between the Asian couple: the wife decidingto stay after her doubting husband is ejected from the group. That is how cults test anddetermine their stranglehold over another person. How far are they willing to abandontheir family and friends for them.Anyone familiar with cults, as Peter is assumed to have known, must take steps to notplay victim to this old ploy. So, that means, you don't go in as a boyfriend/girlfriendcouple but as a solo working in secret tandem. Pre-arrange clandestine meetings so asnot to give yourself away cf. the clever moves two unmarried couple managed to upsetthe brainwork in John Grisham's [i]Runaway Jury[/i].Given Peter's & Lorna's Q-branch resources, even Harriet the Spy would have gatheredmore intel than they did not manage to obtain.Another is the emotional weakness each has, especially Peter. Regardless whether ornot he was a sexual abused child victim, he failed to create an emotional façade toserve as the crumbling wall when the moment came. Like the United States militarybootcamp, cults breakdown people's emotional barriers and persona and rebuilds themup into a new being -- a perfect soldier to fight for the cause.Peter went into this blind.If you are going to infiltrate a group, then you must have your background story setup.
 
Oh, how did the Maggie know about Peter's student Abigail?Dude, any group that demands you change clothes, shower, and drives you aroundblindfolded to another secret location is not above spying on their perspective members.I am surprised that the cult did not design a test to wedge Peter from Lorna, or perhapsthat was the case in the Abigail test.If they were making a documentary, then why did they never follow or question the otherinductees?Joanne knew how to contact Lorna for a personal hike and private gun shooting lesson,so why could they not have contacted that obese inductee or the doubting husband tofollow-up? That would have been a perfect story on the dangers of cults: Cult Destroy aMarriage. That makes for the central narrator on which to hang the documentary thread.[i]A perfectly happily married couple searching for spiritual enlightenment together areforced apart about this mysterious, charming woman who claims to be from the future.[/i]Again, we the audience are burdened with the problem of plenty. Too many clues andnot enough context or substance to make a consistent narrative of the whole. We havea DoJ agent who has either watched too many episodes of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."paranoid enough to search her hotel room for eavesdropping devices, or she knowssomething about the reach and power of this cult, or she is hyper-vigilant being this maybe her first field assignment.Then we have the Abigail's non-event home life. She goes home and plays with legos --(not Legos™) with such an obsession, she must be physically pulled away for bed.And, what about the blood collection? Why was it done? For whose benefit? What, ifanything, was being searched? Or replaced?Cut those scenes out of the movie, and the audience would lose nothing meaningful oranything from the central narrative. Those scenes added nothing to the movie, least ofall, the plot.An interesting challenge is screening this movie to unsuspecting viewers without saidscenes and notice the same questions and reactions arise.Finally, some here on the message board asked about Klaus's role. If Maggie justarrived from the future, then how did he know to search for her and about heridentifiable tattoo?
 
Like good magicians, the film makers has everyone distracted by the obvious trying todecipher meaning from the final handshaking scene, while missing the true crux andcleverness of the film that human flaw everyone is a sucker for a good story and will tryto make sense out of the meaningless or extraneous. The point was Peter coming toterms and searching for catharsis over his mother's death. It was not about Petermaking a documentary as it was about his searching for some meaning behind hismother's death and blaming it on the cult of which she was a member; creating amystery and story where none need existed.[i]Granted the movie is in part about Peter's search, but the movie is so much more thanthat.[/i]According to one interview with Wired magazine, online, the film makers intended tocreate an unsolvable mystery. They added enough bits in their movie to keep every oneguessing. They crafted the story so well, that all lines of logical tableau would remainopen, consistent with the events in the movie.Your guess and explanation is as good as mine or anyone else's and there is no way toprove or disprove otherwise.Whatever interpretation anyone has, there is sufficient textual evidence to support suchclaims and likewise the negation.[i]But you cannot ignore the power and meaning of the final handshaking scene. Thatscene to many is the crux of the movie, especially for Peter to witness it.[/i]Exactly, with regards to Peter. He was already at the tipping point but needed that extrapush to be a confirmed believer. That is how most cults work, especially targeting themost skeptical inductees and members. Because if they can win over their strongestskeptic, then they can easily dupe the gullible.The handshaking scene served the exact purpose the film makers wanted to create:doubt in the audience. Leave us wandering whether Maggie was indeed from the future

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