Gary Cruise’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sound of Metal is a drama following a heavy-metal drummer whose life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.
Having seen Mogul Mowgli last year, I was very excited to watch another film with the incredible Riz Ahmed in the lead role and this certainly did not disappoint. Sound of Metal is amongst the best films I have watched so far this year and is absolutely different to what I was expecting but in the best way possible. I was fully expecting this to be similar to something like Whiplash but instead, this isn’t a film that solely focuses on drumming, it’s a film that focuses on the life of its main character, his past struggles with addiction and his loss of hearing and I am so glad they went down this route because it makes for a captivating, touching and bold film that truly deserved all of its nominations during this year’s awards season.
There’s a huge sense of respect here for its subject matter with amazing representation of what it’s like to live with being deaf and what it’s like learning to live with being deaf. There’s deaf cast members, use of sign language and incredible sound editing all thrown in to show a lot of care for this story which just makes it all the more admirable and all the more easy to become invested in. Riz Ahmed is fast becoming one of my new favourite actors. Ahmed plays lead character Ruben and he is phenomenal in the role. Every bit of emotion, frustration, sadness, happiness, it’s all on show and absolutely believable thanks to this fully committed performance that is bound to tug at the heart strings more than once. He helps make Ruben such a likeable character and his chemistry with all of the other characters is fantastic especially Olivia Cooke’s Lou.
Cooke doesn’t get a lot of screen time but she does a great job with her role when she is on screen and her relationship with Ruben is believable. Paul Raci also delivers a standout performance as Joe, another likeable character who has some really great moments with Ahmed. The filmmaking here is outstanding and the use of sound is some of the best from any film I’ve ever seen. The way it goes from what Ruben is hearing, putting you in his position, to what everyone else is hearing is incredible and really makes a huge difference to everything that’s happening within the film, it’s so effective. It’s got a very subtle score too that’s introduced during select scenes and works really well. It’s not just a film that sounds great, it looks absolutely stunning too with truly beautiful cinematography that immediately stands out within the opening scene and only gets better as the film goes on.
Overall, Sound of Metal is a phenomenal directorial debut from Darius Marder. There’s a great sense of respect and care for its subject matter which helps make the story all the more heartfelt and authentic. Ahmed’s phenomenal in the lead role, it’s a beautiful looking film and it has some of the best use of sound that I’ve ever heard in any film I’ve ever seen.
🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁 / 🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁