Sound of Metal Movie Review! JM says, the movie is “a remarkable revolutionizing and riveting film experience that overwhelms the senses!”

Methodically meticulous and mesmerizing, Riz Ahmed’s amazing performance in “Sound of Metal” is nothing short of breathtaking. “Sound of Metal” is a remarkable revolutionizing and riveting film experience that overwhelms the senses!

The grueling life of being a touring musician certainly takes a mental and physical toll on you, especially when you’re part of a metal duo. For drummer Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed) and his bandmate/girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke), their nomadic lifestyle consists of playing adrenaline intensive gigs and constantly traveling to the next show within a matter of hours. However, one morning Ruben wakes up with intense intermittent hearing loss and visits a specialist, who informs him it’s only going to get worse. Believing his career is over and struggling with his sobriety as a recovering heroin addict, Ruben checks into a house for the deaf to prevent him from relapsing. Despite being respected in a caring and comforting community, Ruben wrestles with accepting his hearing impairment and trying to reclaim his former life.
Director Darius Marder magnificently has assembled a stunning, startling sensory overload with incredible, innovative techniques to recreate what it’s like to lose your hearing. This jarring journey is not often addressed and it’s about damn time. “Sound of Metal” maintains an exceptional entertaining and enthralling examination while exploring the trials and tribulations of losing one of your senses. The ridiculous repetition musicians endure perfectly highlights the dangers of hearing loss in a completely captivating manner. The way Darius Marder manifests the story and the relationship of sound is a testament to his script with his brother Abraham Marder, which is based on a story by Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.”).
Deafness is not a disability and I love how “Sound of Metal” reinforced that message throughout. Insisting the film maintain open caption throughout in English, made the movie universally accessible to both hearing and deaf audiences. As someone who has slowly started losing their hearing in the right ear (due to a concert incident) I now recognize the importance of doing whatever you can to maintain your hearing to the best of your ability. However, being deaf or hard of hearing doesn’t mean you’re broken. It’s part of your identity. The film fantastically focuses on a different perspective and allows hearing individuals to expand their understanding of what it means to be deaf and lose your hearing. Communication is key and thanks to a stellar script, Riz Ahmed was the perfect proxy to exhibit our own miscommunications and misunderstandings of what it means to lose your hearing.
Since his breakthrough with “Nightcrawler” and his Emmy-award winning performance in “The Night Of,” Riz Ahmed’s amazing ascension has made him a must-see actor. His passionate performance as Ruben immediately hits the right notes and finds the right rhythm for a stunning showcase. His rigorous, raw and regretful characterization beautifully illustrates the struggle someone might endure with an identity crisis. Ruben Stone is an everyman whose made mistakes and is doing everything he can to not relapse, but how do you overcome and accept you must reinvent your identity? The fragility Ahmed amazingly captures is both heartbreaking and extremely entertaining with a tour-de-force performance.
Riz Ahmed pulled me into the movie, but Paul Raci definitely deserves just as much recognition. Paul Raci remarkable steals every scene and without a doubt should be a strong contender for Best Supporting Actor this awards season. Paul Raci plays Joe, who like himself, is a veteran, and proficient in American Sign Language (ASL). Considering his own background as a musician and lead singer for the Hands of Doom ASL ROCK, a band that performs in American Sign Language, Raci proves to be a compelling casting coup. I haven’t felt this excited about an introduction to an actor since Christoph Waltz in “Inglorious Basterds.” Combining captions, reading lips and ASL, Raci reminds viewers it’s okay to be frustrated, but don’t let one thing define you. Paul Raci and Riz Ahmed generate genuine suspense throughout even when the plot becomes contrived. Nonetheless, Paul Raci and Riza Ahmed provide two incredible, interesting and inspiring performances we will be talking about for decades!

Imagine “Whiplash” meets “Children of a Lesser God” would be the best way to describe “Sound of Metal.” The sound design definitely needs tons of recognition depicting the staging of hearing loss and experiencing Ruben’s frustrations with his auditory restrictions. Sure silence does dominate at times, but the stillness is relaxing and is all about accepting being calm with nothingness. A moment of stillness is fleeting, but can you deal with silence yourself? Although I didn’t like the “music” played by Ruben and Lou, the muffled sounds, unintelligible conversations and fleeting moments really pull you in. Regardless of where you’re watching “Sound of Metal,” I hope you enjoy this stunning, sublime sensory experience as much as I did.

3 ½ out of 4 stars

In Select Theaters and coming to Prime Video December 4

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