Isaac’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sound of Metal is a very self assured debut, albeit with a few problems. The first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes felt like a horror film to me, thanks in no small part to the sound design (I watched this on my laptop with headphones and it gave me anxiety). But between the beginning and the end is the middle, which is kind of a slog to get through. I found Ruben’s addiction problems on top of his hearing problems to be a hat on top of a hat. Watching Ruben deal with becoming deaf would’ve been exactly enough. Olivia Cooke does all she can with such an empty role, but shoutout to Mathieu Amalric for showing up here, I like him being in things.
But all of my reservations be damned, Sound of Metal is absolutely a vehicle for Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci to get them to the center of awards season. Ahmed gives the kind of performance that I love to see, where an actor feels themselves in moments where their character is alone and quiet. And Raci is such a soulful grounding element to Ahmed’s anger that it reminds me of Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, respectively. Their performances and their relationship is the heart of the movie.