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Sound of Metal Review

One of the very few titles that the UK has been able to see that’s been recognised at the Academy Awards, Sound of Metal joins the small list of films we’ve been able to see thus far. This is easily one of our most anticipated movies for a while. After hitting the festival circuits back in 2019, the premise of the story and lead actor Riz Ahmed made us excited to experience a film about a drummer who is experiencing rapid hearing loss. As his hearing loss gets to the point where he cannot hear anyone talking, Ruben (Ahmed) with the support of his partner and band mate Lou (Olivia Cooke), decides to get support from a deaf community. Ruben’s stubbornness and fear of loss in his relationship with Lou make this difficult time even more troubled.

Directed by Darius Marder, Sound of Metal is his first feature film to be directed by himself and also picks up an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay with only his second feature screenplay to be produced. Not bad going, at all. It’s clear though that we have a talent that has been lurking in the shadows of the Editorial Department and has made a huge and successful leap to being a writer/director. His choice of direction for the film is brilliant. Sound of Metal has been unfairly compared to drumming hit Whiplash, purely for the fact that the film centres on a drummer. Whereas Whiplash is fully focused on the character’s determination to be the absolute best at what he does. Where Sound of Metal is different to Whiplash is that it hardly contains any scenes of actual drumming or playing. Two scenes are only utilised. The film’s sole focus is on Ruben’s journey and acceptance of his hearing loss and how he can overcome it. Both of them are brilliant films but impossible and unfair to compare.

Picking up two acting nominations in the film, both Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci are nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Two extremely strong performances that balance each other out incredibly well. With Ruben, we have an unstable and chaotic trait that causes anxiety watching it and on the other hand, with Raci’s character Joe, the mild mannered mentor is wonderful to watch and graces the screen with his experience and heart wrenching performance. One particular scene towards the end of the film pulls at our heart strings and Raci delivers it in such a nuanced way. These two performances together make them my top favourites for the awards so far. (Bare in mind we still haven’t caught many films in the running!).

What we loved the most about this film is its inclusion of the deaf community in the film’s production. The majority of the production were from the deaf community and Riz Ahmed fully embraced the ASL (American Sign Language) he learnt for the film to communicate with the cast and crew. The production has also made it compulsory to have captions on the film throughout which is a nice touch. In addition to this, the film’s sound design is incredible. Made to be as accurate as can be for someone who experiences hearing loss. It’s jarring, scary but insightful all at the same time. We’ve never come across a film that has thrown itself at a community like this and come out the other end hugely successful. It’s a one of a kind experience that has to be seen and is emotionally heart breaking in every way possible.

Sound of Metal is our number one movie of 2021 so far and it’s going to be a tough one to beat. The film is available on Amazon Prime on 12th April along with its theatrical cinema release in the UK on the 17th May.


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