Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal ★★★★

Throughout the entire run time of this movie I kept waiting for some contrived plot development or conflict to emerge. Would he develop a relationship with the cute lady who teaches him ESL? Would Chekhov's heroin addiction parlay itself into a relapse and drug narrative? When will he get into trouble with the deaf community/sober living facility? Surely the girlfriend has moved on and is with another guy now....Instead this movie completely dispenses with all usual bullshit to create something real that feels completely like life.

Riz Ahmed is stunning in this. He really reminds me of a young Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon or Serpico. All eyes, and this wiry intensity that here communicates without being showy the overwhelming fear, pain, anger and grief that comes with catastrophic hearing loss. My mom lost her hearing in a similar way and the most terrifying thing about deafness is that for the most part, we have no idea what causes it, it can all go in a second, and once you lose it there is really no way to get it back. More than any other sense, hearing it what connects us to other people and to be shorn of it is to lose not just everyone around you but yourself as well. Ahmed and the filmmakers simply portray one man trying to return to himself after everything changes forever without a shred of movie hucksterism.

Once again, believe the hype, Paul Raci is every bit as good in the supporting role as you've heard. In the last scene with him, every single expression on his face landed a cantaloupe-sized lump in my throat.

Finally, cochlear implants must be covered by health insurance.