Sound of Metal ★★★½

Riz Ahmed is really exceptional in this role, so tightly controlled that you can see every emotion rolling across his features without any of them feeling melodramatic, oversized, or misjudged. And for a film that puts so much effort into bringing the audience fully inside his character’s headspace (in an intentionally unpleasant way that I’m sure would have impacted me more if I saw it on the big screen), it’s honestly kind of remarkable he gets away with making as many smart but decidedly unflashy decisions as he does. 

I haven’t seen that many dramas about recovery, as well, that look directly into the soul sickness at the core of addiction, and that so eloquently convey the spiritual reorientation that’s necessary to survive it. Carrying on means more than just waking up the next day despite the absence of what you once wanted; it means getting clear on who you are, laying down roots in yourself, living fully in the moment, and using that presence to make peace with whatever has happened to you and what will happen next. I almost wish there was more of this, which is to say I wish there was more Paul Raci. He’s fantastic.

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