Cuff’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sound of Metal is a crushing film about a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing and is subsequently forced to question his own identity.
For a film like this you'd bank on the filmmakers using sound to their advantage and they really do so in an effective way. Sound of Metal allows you to drift in and out of the perspective of Riz Ahmed's character, fully immersing yourself in the initially debilitating and frightening place that the protagonist finds himself in.
Ahmed is fantastic in the lead role and his struggle to reckon with the person he has become makes Sound of Metal a universal story. Ruben identifies almost solely as a drummer, and making music is the activity that he has centred his entire being around. Without that he doesn't know who he is anymore, or what the point of living now is for him, and that's a feeling that so many people, deaf or not, can resonate with.
Sound of Metal is often heartbreaking, particularly whenever we see Ruben desperately clinging onto the person he once was. However the film also wisely presents deafness in such a special light, with Paul Raci declaring that being deaf is not a handicap, and not something that needs to be fixed. That message is so important and the movie delivers it in such a profound way.
Sound of Metal could have easily felt exploitative but thankfully it's so genuine, touching and informative. Ahmed's performance is fantastic, the sound engineering is phenomenal and the story is a universal tale about being content with yourself for who you truly are and not who want to be.