Life continues to move forward, and we must roll with the punches.
This is one of the central ideas behind the film “Sound of Metal.” It is directed by Darius Marder and written by him and his brother, Abraham Marder. It is available on Amazon Prime as an Amazon Original.
The film follows Ruben Stone, a heavy metal drummer. While on tour with his band, he begins to lose his hearing and can no longer perform. He joins a hearing-impaired community that is run by Joe, a Vietnam War veteran and recovering alcoholic.
“Sound of Metal” is an incredible film about the hardships we face and how we build from them. It’s about learning what it means to be hearing-impaired and how that isn’t a setback, but a different way of life. In a sense, Ruben must learn what it means to be deaf.
To start, the acting in this film is incredible.
Riz Ahmed leads the film as Ruben. Joining him, Olivia Cooke plays Ruben’s girlfriend, Lou, and Paul Raci plays Joe, forming the main supporting cast. They all do a fantastic job in this film playing broken people. They deliver personal and intimate performances that feel real as they lean on each other for support.
Along with them, most of the cast is comprised of people within the deaf community. With these performances, they give the film authenticity as they portray what it means to be deaf without using cheap tricks to feign sympathy. They show how this loss of hearing isn’t a detriment, instead showing how beautifully people live with it.
Building on top of this, the film’s sound design is incredible. For portions of the film, the sound reflects how Ruben hears the world around him. It encapsulates what someone who is losing their hearing would hear or notice through vibrations. In other parts, the movie changes its sound to focus on various aspects, like focusing on muffled sounds or different ways to regain hearing. It’s absolutely incredible and the audio technicians should feel proud for what they have created.
Speaking of sound, there isn’t a score to this film. Instead, music plays within the film at different points, which can be rather impactful. Using the sound design, it shows how music can be appreciated despite not being able to hear. It’s a great detail included within this movie.
Moving on, the film is well structured. It focuses entirely on Ruben as it follows him throughout his journey. It follows a pretty standard (yet effective) structure as he faces the many obstacles that are laid out in front of him. But because it is all through his perspective, it creates an effective and impactful story arc.
This film is also well shot. The film includes some beautiful landscape shots, but that isn’t the main focus. Instead, this film has a keen eye for small details, as it likes to focus on characters and their expressions. Most of the film is shot following characters or in a close-up on someone. It helps in keeping the film grounded and based around these people.
Finally, the editing of this film is great. It keeps a consistent rhythm throughout and doesn’t do anything flashy. It’s great because you aren’t thinking about it.
“Sound of Metal” is a fantastic film. Through its performances, sound design and structure, it captures what it means to be hearing impaired and how that isn’t a hinderance.
It’s a film that takes a look within everyone to get across how we as people are able to overcome just about anything. It’s a film that shows how people live despite whatever circumstances life thrusts upon them, whether that is a disability, economic status or what we choose to do with ourselves.
It’s an incredible film and Darius Marder has done a fantastic job at bringing this story to the screen.