Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal ★★★★½

Featuring an electrifying and affecting performance from Ahmed, Sound of Metal is a moving story about a drummer’s sudden onset of deafness, his struggle to accept his new state of being, and an impulse/desperation to reclaim what he has lost. Metal's emotional drumbeat is one that is quiet but hits big.

The film's sound design is astonishingly visceral, immersing the viewer in Ruben's plight. Marder's screenplay is captivating throughout, focusing on a character that struggles with his identity and tries to find inner peace. There's definitely some parallels between this and Ahmed's previous turn as a rapper struck down by serious illness in Mogul Mowgli. As a fellow South Asian, Ahmed is an actor I always find myself rallying behind and he's so deserving of all the praise for this. I still regret not saying hello to him when I once stood opposite him on the Hammersmith and City/Circle Line.

There are some people in the deaf community who don't wish to identify themselves as disabled, but as a disabled person myself, Ruben's character and the emotional nuance of Marder's writing really struck a chord with me. I have an artificial limb, but I certainly resonated with Ruben's frustration and painful realisation of life's limitations. Yet what comes thereafter is so empowering, finding Sound of Metal's lead character embrace the card he has been dealt with, owning it, and not letting it define who he is. His desperation to try and "fix" himself and the way he is ostracised from the deaf community is handled very sensitively. This point in Ruben's character arc feels especially believable with this recovering-addict's knee-jerk reaction. Ahmed's exchanges with the community's leader, played by Paul Raci, are excellent to watch.

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