Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal ★★★½

The years of playing in a (more often than not) excruciatingly loud rock band in my 20s—and in a brazenly idiotic move, very rarely wearing earplugs during live performances—have undoubtedly damaged my hearing, and the first act of Sound of Metal plays like a panic-fueled depiction of one of my more rational fears: that the damage will have a permanent and life-altering impact. Thankfully for my nerves, the film quickly settles into a more traditional narrative where Ruben comes to terms with his hearing loss at a group home, though it mostly avoids the clichéd moments we've come to expect from similar films. The final half hour drags, but the performances and sound design keep it immersive and engaging, even when the story loses the thread.

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