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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sound of Metal

Director: Darius Marder

Studio: Amazon Studios

The Sound of Metal delivers a loud, flawless performance

My viewing pleasures have a soft spot on music films and drama films, but sometimes they can be both at the same time like Whiplash, La La Land, and the upcoming Pixar’s animated film, Soul, the latter of which will be the most exciting film to see despite not being given a theatrical release due to the virus still spreading around the world. The Sound of Metal is a drama film that features a character with a disability called hearing loss. It had its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival before making its way to theaters for the general public. The film is directed and co-written by Darius Marder, in his directorial debut of a feature film, and publicly features the consisting cast of Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, and Paul Raci.

The Sound of Metal centers on a drummer named Ruben Stone who suffers a hearing loss after four years of sobriety following his drug addict. Because of that, he is forced to meet a counselor named Joe who leads a deaf community for people with hearing losses and severe deafness.

Riz Ahmed portrays Ruben, the drummer with a hearing loss disability in the film. Ahmed is one of those actors people cannot take their eyes off. He basically and simply plays any character he likes. He's always intense and, most importantly, he always makes people care about the characters he's portraying, but deep down he looks like he’s enjoying himself. His acting credits also includes HBO’s The Night Of, for which he has earned a few Emmy nominations, Star Wars’ Rogue One, and Jason Bourne, with the latter two being released in 2016.

Actress Olivia Cooke (2014’s Ouija, A&E’s Bates Motel, Vanity Fair, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One) appears as Ruben’s girlfriend and his manager named Lou who supports and tries to help him overcome his situation of deafness at any cost while Paul Raci, with a Dennis Hopper impression, stands in as Counselor Joe who leads a deaf community for people with hearing losses.

As a feature film director, Marius really puts all the camera angles towards Ahmed’s character in order to give the character some stronger characteral developments compared to the main characters from the first two films mentioned above. Marius not only makes the story seem promising to digest, but also makes the film as enjoyable and filled with concerns about people with disabilities and real-life situations just to make the film more appealing to audiences, predominately the audiences with impaired hearings. Not only Marius' direction, but the usages of sound effects add a nice touching effect on several characters with hearing losses. Aside from being a director of this, he is also an editor, writer, and director of Loot, a documentary film dated back in 2008.

Also appearing in the film are Lauren Ridloff (The Walking Dead, Marvel’s upcoming Eternals) and Mathieu Amalric (James Bond’s Quantum of Solace, Steven Spielberg's Munich, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly).

In conclusion, Sound of Metal is a great movie, more like an Oscar-worthy type of thing despite all the language being used in the film. I really enjoy every aspect of every scene given to the characters in the film, mainly the cinematic focus on Ahmed’s character. I think this film will stand on my top ten lists for 2020, but I’m not too sure. I have to wait till I have reached New Year’s Day. This film is definitely a “must” and it clocks in around two hours. The cast and crew did an outstanding job of delivering a flawless performance, especially that ending right there which is extremely effective, but there’s no surprises at all. Another excellent performance coming from Riz Ahmed himself. A few more films like this and he will finally have earned his Oscar.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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