Blake VP’s review published on Letterboxd:
Perspective is the everlasting gift of film and what it can give to an audience. In Sound of Metal, we gain an interpersonal look and appreciation for an entire community through the tender portrayal of a broken man who feels as if he's lost everything but, in reality, has only lost his hearing. The themes teach us about deafness in a way that's never been presented on the screen, and it's genuine in the exploration of this handicap. It's heartbreaking in tone with several devastatingly personal performances, starting with Riz Ahmed, who kept you engaged in every scene with his presence. It's uncomfortable in the portrayal but one that reaches more in-depth into the understanding of this affliction. It's undoubtedly one of the best performances of the year, and Ahmed was perfectly cast, conveying a great deal every second he's on screen.
Ruben (Riz Ahmed) is a complex character but doesn't necessarily have an arc. His arc is written to end in a place of acceptance, that deafness doesn't need to define a person and his lack of hearing is a way to exist. This extends out to a few memorable supporting cast members, Paul Raci (Joe) and Olivia Cooke (Lou), that show the tenderness needed to survive this transition.
Furthermore, this acceptance is all captured in the incredible sound design - the vision behind Ruben's story is all in the sounds. We gain a realistic perspective into losing one's hearing and the harsh transition needed to occur. The sound hits when the implants are "activated," and an actual nightmare takes over his mind. The last scene fading to black after the cut to silence was a beautifully cathartic moment and captured the struggle of it all in one shot. Teary-eyed throughout, engrossed in the performances, this film was a real gem that will be remembered for its hopefulness.