Scorcaesar’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sound. The importance of which is largely overlooked - taken for granted. Rarely does it get enough credit, even by acknowledged critics and that is because it's never really the sole focus of a project. Sound of Metal takes every aspect of sound and integrates it into its scenes in a purposeful way. The ringing, static, traffic, crowds, nature - all of it is so incredibly detailed and edited in such a way that comes across so seamless. To flip-flop between Ruben's perspective and his surroundings make for a very dynamic interplay. Especially since we only ever escape Ruben's auditory state when he can otherwise understand the conversation. Diversely, without manipulation (such as a bland score), we are trapped together with the main character. This film uses sound to tell its story, and it really, really works.
Riz Ahmed gives my favorite performance of 2020. He is superb in this role. It's such a subdued, carefully acted character that makes for phenomenal screen presence. He mostly observes and tries to adapt, but the moments of pure emotion sets him apart from being lazy. His character is built to use music and noise to overcome distractions and when that gets taken away from him, he starts to fall apart. Riz attempting to figure this out throughout the film is what held everything together. The screenplay and the pacing it provides made the film flow like a fucking river. Every scene is constructed in a way that doesn't overstay its welcome.
I went in expecting a drummer flick, sort of, and Marder surprised me with something a lot better. Go watch it, it's on Amazon Prime.