Sound of Metal: Well-Acted Drama is Slow But Impactful

3.5 out of 5 stars (above average)

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Thank you to Chelsea Peters, Andrea Olarte, Tina Theriot, Libeth Morales, and Amazon for sending me this screener.

Sound of Metal is more an informative film than an entertaining one.  It offers a realistic look at the struggles faced by the deaf community via a slow-moving but effective story that could gain awards buzz. Despite poor pacing, Sound of Metal tells a gripping story with an emotionally powerful turn from Riz Ahmed and some inspired sound editing.

Former heroin addict Ruben (Riz Ahmed) and his girlfriend of 4 years Lou (Olivia Cooke) are in a metal band together.  One morning, Ruben wakes up to discover he’s rapidly going deaf.  Fearing a potential drug relapse, Lou takes him to a rehab clinic for deaf individuals so he can adjust to his new disability.  As the clinic mandates zero contact with the outside world, Ruben must rely on the other patients for support as he faces his demons.

Sound of Metal is a good movie with poor pacing.  Riz Ahmed delivers a star-making lead performance showcasing great emotional vulnerability and Oliva Cooke does well in her limited screentime.  I appreciate that the film is automatically subtitled for members of the deaf community and the sound editing techniques communicating how Ruben hears the world as his deafness increases should reserve seats at next years’ Oscars.  The ending has a quietly emotional punch that makes the journey there meaningful, but the midsection needed some trimming.

Despite the pacing problems here, I still recommend Sound of Metal for its story about the power of perseverance and adaptability within all of us, a message I believe needs to be seen and heard loud and clear in 2020.  An emotionally vulnerable turn from Riz Ahmed and strong sound design carry Sound of Metal’s powerful story through its poor pacing.  See it on Amazon Prime US December 4th, 2020.

Rated R for Language and Brief Nudity

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