Sound of Metal
review by Bobby Blakey
Obviously I love movies, but when they get creative to make more of an immersive experience for the audience they have the chance of being something bigger than itself. The latest, Sound of Metal starring Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff and Mathieu Almaric, but does the film offer up that sort of creative experience or will it be something not worth listening too?
Sound of Metal follows a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, where itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew.
What you need to first know going in is that director Darius Marder utilizes startling, innovative sound design techniques, to take the audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world. This creates a sound that makes you feel like there may be something wrong with the track to the film, but in fact is on purpose and becomes a driving force to the success of the film. As someone struggling with deteriorating hearing loss I found it pretty spot on and sadly relatable. Throughout the film I was hearing sounds in the film that I actually hear the way I hear them often. This hit me on a personal level, but also made it something easier to describe for people to understand to what I have been trying to explain for years.
On the film front it is pretty powerful in itself taking your right in to the mix during a live performance and things not going well already. As it all unfolds the sound along with the great performances really brings you along for this painful journey. This is not just the story about a musician losing his hearing, but about him finding himself inside despite this life changing situation. Riz Ahmed is
excellent here bringing a nuanced performance that caps perfectly with the sound mixing to offer up an intensity and sadness that is like nothing you have seen before.
There are a lot of time throughout the film where it is void of sound to keep you immersed in this world and I applaud director Darius Marder for taking this route. In addition a lot of the cast are really deaf that is not only making the film get a more real feeling, but inclusive that is great in itself. I really connected with this film in a way I didn’t really expect and hope that more do as well.
Check out Sound of Metal in select theaters now and on Amazon Prime Video everywhere December 4th.