Sound of Metal
By James Davidson
“Sound of Metal” is a drama starring Riz Ahmed, and Olicia Cooke. It was released on December 4th 2020 and is available on the Amazon Video streaming service, it is free for Amazon Prime members. Ruben (Ahmed) is a heavy metal drummer in a band with his girlfriend Lou (Cooke). Rubens’ life is thrown into disarray when he begins to lose his hearing. He must learn to deal with the new obstacle in his life without losing what means the most to him. His priorities are called into question as he begins to understand what is really important in life.
I heard of this movie a few times and saw it on a few “best of” lists and thought that it sounded interesting, and after watching the trailer I thought I would give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this film since I was expecting it to be slow and struggle to hold my attention at first.
The first thing that caught my attention was the sound of the movie. That’s not something I usually notice about movies, but since this movie is centered around hearing, it makes sense that the sound of the film would play a prominent role. The sound cuts in and out as it follows Ruben’s hearing loss and it made me more invested in the story as well as sympathise with Ruben’s character more. The sound going in and out really helps you understand what Ruben is going through and why his hearing is so important to him. I thought that the acting complimented this in an interesting way with them trying to communicate without sound or sign language at first.
Since Ruben’s character is a recovering drug addict, his sponsor finds him a place that will help him deal with the loss of his hearing as well as help him not to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with his difficulty. Once Ruben gets to the deaf community, it is interesting to see the gradual change in him as he gradually begins to accept his loss of hearing and learns to communicate through sign language and other means. Ruben also forms a bond with a lot of the other people in the community and it is fascinating to see their bond form and grow.
I found the story and writing to be incredibly complex for such a simple plot and was impressed with the way the writers were able to make the story gripping and fascinating without a lot of action or even sound. I enjoyed the way the characters interacted with each other mostly without speaking and thought the filmmaker did an excellent job at keeping the viewer informed without much sound or speaking.
This movie is rated R for language throughout and brief nude images. Other than a lot of foul language and I believe one tattooed image of a nude woman, there is nothing particularly offensive in this movie and it is a great movie for a movie night with friends or your older children.
“Sound of Metal” is a powerfully moving film with Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke knocking their respective roles out of the park. The film has some original sound ideas and the sound does an incredible job at drawing you in emotionally and the sound could almost tell the story by itself. While the pacing is a bit slow, I was never bored through the movie and I think that this film is the first must watch film of the year. It earns 5 out of 5 stars.