Sound of Metal stars Riz Ahmed (above) as Ruben, a former drug addict who’s drummer in a heavy metal band and is starting to go deaf due to the excessive volume he’s had to deal with over the years in his job. Then again, when you hear their opening number, they sound tone-deaf already.
As the film plays out, when he starts having aural issues, we get the same effect through the speakers, too, which does work very well. The effect doesn’t feel gradual, either. Early on, he’s fine, but after a while, it just takes effect and stays. Similarly, as he can’t even hear a word the pharmacist is telling him, we can’t hear much of it, either, and after some tests, he learns that if he has implants to avoid the cochlea, they will cost $40,000+ and are not covered by insurance, so it’s not cheap.
However, I was just amazed that as he’s playing drums on tour, he never has any sort of protection for his ears. Frequently, you see drummers wearing some sort of protection, so why isn’t he?
Later, as he seems to abandon life by doing to stay with a church’s deaf community, and get used to taking part in group therapy whilst learning sign language, would that really happen? Who can just abandon reality like that? Still, at least it’s done in a much more realistic way than the young girl conversing with the gorilla in the same way, in Godzilla Vs Kong.
There are times in this film, such as in the pharmacy, and also when the community when they’re all having conversations around the dinner table, but he can’t understand a word they’re signing – where I found myself to be in the same boat. Given that there when there were no subtitles available for the film, and since you also can’t always hear the dialogue in the former situation, that’s clearly meant to be the point.
There’s decent support from Olivia Wilde (Ready Player One) as his girlfriend, Lou, but once Ruben goes to stay with the deaf community, she’s rarely to be seen. And it’s at that point where the film does rather slow down, even though that’s the point at which I expected it to start making some progress with his hearing loss.
One last main point: How can Ruben drive despite being almost deaf?
Sound Of Metal is a 15-certificate because of a handful of f-words, but given the positive messages it conveys, it could still be seen by children under that age.
Sound Of Metal is on Amazon Prime Video from Monday April 12th, but the film isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 120 minutes
Release date: April 12th 2021
Studio: Amazon Prime Video
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Techniscope)
Director: Darius Marder
Producers: Sacha Ben Harroche, Bill Benz, Kathy Benz, Bert Hamelinck
Screenplay: Darius Marder, Abraham Marder
Story: Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance
Music: Nicolas Becker, Abraham Marder
Ruben: Riz Ahmed
Lou: Olivia Cooke
Joe: Paul Raci
Diane: Lauren Ridloff
Richard Berger: Mathieu Amalric
Michael: Domenico Toledo
Jenn: Chelsea Lee
Shaheem: Shaheem Sanchez
Harlan: Chris Perfetti
The Man: Bill Thorpe
Pharmacist: Michael Tow
Michael’s Father: William Xifaras
Audiologist: Rena Maliszewski
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.