Sound of Metal ★★★★½

AFI Fest 2020: Movie #5

"Have you had any moments of stillness?

Surprisingly sensitive and tender in the gentlest of ways. Losing your hearing isn't the end of the world, but for our protagonist, it's firmly the end of his world as he knows it. Everything is different now, and the seeming lack of control is paralyzing. There's a directness to this film that's so refreshing, seeing it laid out very clearly what paths a person can take and what managing our expectations looks like. Change is difficult, particularly when it's thrust upon you. The consequences of our actions are direct, but their ripples can test us in ways we couldn't have anticipated.

I want audiences to be surprised by what this experience offers them, but I'll say that I was mesmerized by how immersive it was. The use of sound to put us in our protagonist's shoes, paired with Riz Ahmed's already brilliant performance, made the film impossibly real. Entire emotional beats are born from shifts in the sound mix, and I can't think of when else I've had that feeling. All the senses come alive with this one, and it opens you up to something truly special.

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