Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal ★★★★½

I don't know what it is like to live with a disability. Aside from being short-sighted which is easily fixed by glasses or contact lenses, my body functions fine. I don't know what it's like being blind, not being able to see the world, the colors of everday life, the face of my loved ones. I don't know what it's like being mute, not being able to speak my thoughts, trapping my mind into itself. I don't know what it's like not being able to use my arms, my legs, the feeling of being paralyzed, being lesser that other human beings. And I don't know what it's like being deaf with sound, speech and music all blurring into muted hollowness.

What films like Sound of Metal can do is using the power of cinema, through its audiovisual ways to make me understand what people like Riz Ahmed's Ruben Stone go through. To build understanding, deepen empathy. We see every step of the trauma and recovery: First the confusion, the disbelief. The stubborn denial, the anger, the rage before it turns into acceptance and adaptation. Which can only happen with the help, the care, the love and understanding of others who have the same struggle. Filmed with stark realism, Darius Marder uses beautiful contrasts (the loud abrasive nature of Ruben's music compared the peace within most scenes) and fantastic, experimental sound design to really put us into Ruben's shoes. And the acting? Just phenomenal and down to earth. Riz conveys every emotion that a person can go through when they lose a crucial part of themselves from one day to the other especially as a musician. A purposefully slow (maybe a bit too much) but very powerful and resonating movie with a perfect finale.

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