allain’s review published on Letterboxd:
There’s this saying that you’ll never appreciate the things you currently have until you lose it and it can be heavily seen in Sound of Metal–a music drama about the aftermath of a heavy-metal drummer’s life as his sense of hearing deteriorated. It’s easy to forget the things we take for granted, especially our five basic senses, that we neglect to tend for it until it’s a little bit too late, and losing any of them–sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch–can be catastrophic to anyone.
The film began in a bang, with the heavy-metal music booming, as we are introduced to Ruben, a drummer who will soon get the consequence of abusing his eardrums. Being put in a situation like this can be devastating; one day, you’re a perfectly functioning human being and the next you aren’t. It’s this unpredictability that’s absolutely terrifying and it’s very reflective in Ruben’s character, as he tries to cope with his hearing impairment. I usually don’t cry at situations I don’t relate to, but Riz Ahmed stirred multiple emotions in me in that one certain scene, where his body language spoke louder than words ever could. The emotional attachment I have in Ruben’s character peaked with the ending, where the silence is deafening, making me release a big sigh because I wanted more.
The film’s main selling point is its sound design. It portrayed situations in two distinctions, by juxtaposing the muted or distorted sound quality in the perspective of Ruben to a normal sounding one in a third person’s view. It’s honestly amazing how the crew managed to blend it well and it really helped and heightened some scenes. Riz Ahmed was absolutely phenomenal in this film; his synchronization with the character he’s portraying is just outstanding to watch. And to think that this is Darius Marder’s directorial debut makes me want to prioritize his future projects when it comes out. All in all, both Marder and Ahmed fleshed out a drama about the journey of self-destruction and self-acceptance that reverberates long after the credits ended.