What is the worst thing (besides the obvious) which could happen to a musician? Losing their hearing is the answer. Think about it….That is what happens to a drummer in a metal band in Darius Marder’s (first feature film) Sound of Metal.
Imagine the ringing in your ears we have all experienced after a live show going on? Or even worse if you experience losing your hearing. Let’s take that up a notch and imagine this is happening to a drummer in a metal band. Ruben (Riz Ahmed – Rogue One, Venom) is in the middle of a show and it is obvious something is wrong with his hearing. Something serious.
After a pharmacist refers him to a doctor and he undergoes tests, Ruben is told that he is almost completely deaf. There is nothing he can do to get his hearing back; it is just a case of trying to save what little he has left. Needless to say this leaves Ruben shattered. He does not even tell his longterm girlfriend and the singer in the band, Lou (Olivia Cooke – Ouija, Ready Player One).
When Lou does find out after some discussion and initial refusal, Ruben, who is also a recovering addict, agrees to live at a rehab/deaf community facility in order to help him adapt to being deaf. What he really aims for is to earn the $40-80,000 he needs to get cochlear implants believing these will allow him to once again be a musician.
Have you ever thought about what you would do if the life you loved was taken from you? That there was no way for you to get it back? Horrible, no? For a musician the ability to hear the music they make is paramount. So losing your hearing would be torture. How would you go on?
The actor asked to portray all the emotions involved in this – denial, anger, refusal, giving up, hope, reality – is Brit Riz Ahmed. Instead of being in the background of a film or doing a supporting film, this is his almost entirely. The performance is so epic that he will be in the discussion for sure when it comes to Lead Actor Oscar nominations. Excellent, intense and someone you cannot take your eyes off.
Life is a constant state of change. For the most part humans are not great with change. We fight it. Would rather things stay the same. Here is a film which tries to express that change in a realistic way.
While the entire film is great the last 20 minutes at times is like a gut punch. Especially the last conversation between Lou, a small part done wonderfully by Olivia Cooke, and Ruben. Oufff! You have no heart if you are not crushed by it.
Those behind the film intended you to watch this with the captioning on. Totally immersing hearing people into the world of deaf people. Want the sounds, etc. to really hit you and garner a visceral reaction.
All here is done in a thought provoking and thoughtful way. Care is taken with the subject and characters involved. The situation is given its due without straying into melodrama.