Firequackers’s review published on Letterboxd:
After watching this I promise to no longer get annoyed by those “we’ve turned your volume down!” iPhone notifications.
This wasn’t quite what I was expecting, which was something more akin to Whiplash with a bigger focus on him dealing with his passion for and loss of music, but I enjoyed it all the same. I liked how Ruben’s deafness tied into his unseen recovery from a past addiction as he found himself again having to adjust to a new and isolating reality.
The way sound was used between different character perspectives brought me much closer to what he was going through. Both the muffled near-silence and the metallic sounds from the implants were equally aggravating (though there did seem to be an unhelpful message of what the right way to deal with deafness is) and it definitely made me appreciate certain things. This isn’t on the same level, but 10 years ago I woke up one day to a perforated eardrum and a soaked pillow, then had to deal with deafness in one ear for a while, not knowing if the hearing would ever come back (which it eventually did). Having to adjust to a sudden new reality like that makes you feel cut off from everyone, and it’s especially sad to see it happen to a musician whose life revolves around noise.
I expected nothing less of Riz Ahmed but I also think Olivia Cooke deserves a lot of praise. I’ve been a fan of hers since seeing her in Bates Motel and it’s great to see her taking on character-driven roles like this. Those bleached eyebrows though...