Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal ★★★½

“The world does keep moving and it can be a damn cruel place. But for me those moments of stillness, that place, that’s the Kingdom of God. And that place will never abandon you.”


I don’t think I’ve ever watched a movie about deafness so this felt very unique. I really enjoyed its portrayal of the deaf community. I also really appreciated the commitment to trying to truly bring across the experience of Ruben’s deafness to us as the audience. Watching this with noise-cancelling headphones (on a noisy plane too) was really a great way to watch it to be honest. The sound design was really really well-executed. 

However, I’m not sure if I liked the story itself. The movie is about deafness, which was well done, but it’s centrally about deafness in the context of Ruben as a character - and I’m not sure if I really took to him at all. Sure, Riz Ahmed does a really, really amazing job, but his character is simply... frustrating. It’s frustrating because you feel every bit of Ruben’s own frustration, on top of being frustrated at him for not “doing things right”. And then you’re also frustrated because you can’t be completely frustrated with him when some of his poor decisions are understandable. Maybe that’s good writing, but I’d be lying if I said I liked going through all that.

I will say, I do really like the analysis I’m reading about how apt Sound of Metal is in regards to our current circumstances and the need to adapt to a new normal. I can get behind the film in that regard. But the experience of it felt unsatisfactory and almost unenjoyable at times which is generally not what I’m looking for. I’d have given it a 3 if not for the impeccable sound - a real technical standout.

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