Monday 7 December 2020

Sound of Metal (Movie Review)

The Oscar race continues as more hopefuls land limited releases in those theaters that are open, as well as on the various streaming platforms that have become the go-to destinations for such movies. The newest kid on the block is Sound of Metal, a movie that acts as a vehicle for the immensely talented actor, Riz Ahmed. Released in theaters last month, the movie is now streaming on Prime Video.

In Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed plays Ruben, a punk metal drummer who performs alongside his girlfriend, Lou (Olivia Cooke), in a two-person band. After many years of playing small gigs, he suddenly begins to lose his hearing. Devastated by the development, he is convinced by their sponsor to seek out the leader of a deaf community for help. But Ruben struggles to accept his fate, and he is willing to do anything to get back a semblance of his former life.

Sound of Metal succeeds at emulating what its like to lose something most of us take for granted every day. It lets viewers experience the world through the ears of its protagonist, Ruben, as he comes to grips with the loss of his hearing, and this is accomplished by a combination of some effective sound mixing, as well as a heartfelt performance from Riz Ahmed. The actor has given great performances before in films like Nightcrawler and the limited series, The Night Of, but here he gives what is arguably a career best, which should hopefully be enough to garner him some consideration at next year's Oscars.

The film also brings to the forefront the experiences of those living in the deaf community. But rather than romanticize those experiences, it presents them in a manner that is very much grounded in reality. These are people that have chosen not to approach their condition as something that needs to be fixed, but rather as one of life's many challenges to be accepted and dealt with.

In terms of cons, I don't really have that much to complain about, other than the fact that I had hoped for a stronger focus on the musical aspects of the film, which was admittedly what had drawn me to the movie in the first place. But we didn't really get to see or experience much of Ruben's life as a struggling musician, save from an opening performance or two at the start of the movie.

Sound of Metal is a heartfelt drama that explores the human condition from a unique viewpoint. The fact that it is expertly presented and made only goes further to enhance its overall message. Ultimately, the film is about finding acceptance amidst unprecedented change, and how such changes don't have to spell the end of everything one cares about, or impede one's ability to find inner peace.


  1. Bummer there isn't more of the musical aspect. As a musician myself, losing my hearing would be devastating.