Darius Marder’s directorial feature-narrative debut about a heavy metal drummer suddenly going deaf will rock your whole world. This Oscar nominee unexpectedly has a lot to offer. The grainy look, the ingenious sound design, and the divine talent offer an unparalleled, successfully sympathetic look into what it takes to learn to be deaf.
What we came for is Riz Ahmed, and boy did this film deliver. His performance is raw and, above all else, believable. He was totally committed to the fear and anxiety of losing one’s hearing while maintaining an incredibly complex character as he follows a difficult arc. His nomination at the Academy Awards is well deserved.
The look of the film is pretty subdued, and not entirely noticeable until a certain couple of special moments. The visuals become very loud in the wake of Ruben’s, the main character’s, silence. The warmth of the palette softens as Ruben learns to connect with people again, and his happiness projects itself out to the audience.
The sound design services the story so well, frequently emulating what Ruben is experiencing as he tries to interact with the world after he goes deaf. I haven’t ever had the opportunity to empathize or try to relate to someone with a sensory disability, but The Sound of Metal has brought the hearing world much, much closer. For all of its successes, I give this film a 4 out of 5.