“Sound of Metal” is a Stunning Character Study

In preparation for the Academy Awards on April 25th, the Corral will be reviewing every potential Best Picture nomination

“Sound of Metal”, directed by Darius Marder, stars Riz Ahmed as Ruben, a heavy metal drummer that begins to lose their hearing. The film follows Ruben as he copes with this disruptive change.

Trey Williams, Managing Editor

“Sound of Metal”, directed by Darius Marder, stars Riz Ahmed as Ruben, a heavy metal drummer that begins to lose their hearing. The film follows Ruben as he copes with this disruptive change.

I really love this film, This movie knocks it out of the park with its story. I think the themes of addiction and loss are presented in a mature and realistic way. There weren’t any melodramatic “movie” moments. There isn’t a sappy piano song when the characters are sad. This movie relied on the acting and the script for emotional impact, and both of these are perfectly executed. I also love how much can be taken away from the movie completely unrelated to deafness. This film is really about coping with change. I love how this movie has an impactful story about a man coping with losing their hearing, but also gives the audience a lot to chew on in a more general sense.

Riz Ahmed absolutely nailed it as Ruben. He has a subtle yet powerful way of portraying his emotion here. There are some scenes where he goes all out, but most of the time his eyes do such a mesmerizing job of communicating how he feels. I also love how likable he is. I want to be friends with this dude, which makes the emotional impact of the movie that much stronger. Riz Ahmed is a name to look out for for the future.

I also love the movie’s portrayal of deafness. The film casts numerous real deaf actors, which obviously adds to the realism. There are numerous scenes here of what it is like to live as a deaf person, and many of them are super interesting to watch. For example, there is a dinner scene from the point of view of Ruben, where many deaf people are communicating as they eat. At first, you can’t hear anything and all you can see are the sign language and mouth movements. Then, the film gives you a point of view without deafness, where you hear the chewing noises and the aggressive banging on the table and other stuff like that. This scene and many others were super interesting to watch. I feel like I learned a lot about the deaf lifestyle from this film.

This film is also technically superb. There are tons of beautiful shots throughout the film of the settings and the characters. I also love the purposefully claustrophobic shots on Ruben during certain scenes. This gives a lot of room for Ahmed to really shine as an actor. The editing and sound design is also really well done. I love how the film portrays Ruben’s hearing loss. The movie often is presented from the perspective of Ruben, which means what he hears we hear. This is masterfully presented throughout the film. I also love how the editing choices from scene to scene make you focus on sound. There are many cuts from quiet places to loud places, or loud places to quiet places, constantly bringing attention to how much information your ears passively take in.

As much as I love this movie, it was not perfect. I think that the movie loses a little momentum around two thirds of the way through. I understand why the filmmakers made this choice, but I wish the pacing was more consistent throughout. That being said, the final scene of this film is incredible.

I was blown away by this movie. Riz Ahmed gives the best performance I’ve seen so far. Even without Riz, the cinematography, story, editing, and everything else make this a worthy contender for Best Picture. Don’t skip “Sound of Metal”.

Rating: 4.5/5