Nolio’s review published on Letterboxd:
With the 2021 Oscars coming up, I thought I should begin to check out some of these films that have been nominated for one reason or another and I've started with Sound of Metal which has absolutely elevated Riz Ahmed as an actor. I'm not at all surprised that he turned in a performance like this, he's been fairly underrated for a while now.
I'm really happy with the inspection of change throughout the runtime. Ruben is losing his hearing rapidly. He faces a huge curveball in life that nobody wants to go through. With a few ups and downs he deals with this problem, as humans tend to naturally do when they desire change - however difficult that may be. The first half of the film is excellent, though its the second half where I feel it falters a bit. Without spoiling this, I'm not really sure what exactly this movie is trying to say. If change is something we should adapt to in a circumstance like losing your hearing, is there only one option, or are there several? Sound of Metal makes it seem like there's one option, and its to adapt within your community and accept your disability.
Now, I don't know much about the difficulties deaf people face, but implants certainly seem like an option for some people and the movie makes it seem like they shouldn't be an option regardless of your situation, because they don't work. I felt like there was something "off" during the second half, and now I've realized that its simply the portrayal of choices that people make that I take an issue with.
With that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this film anyway. Obviously, Riz has an outstanding performance, as well as Olivia Cooke. There's a pretty good message in here about adapting/coming to terms with problems, and I learned some more about the difficulties deaf people face and how they deal with them. An intriguing picture, and certainly one that earned its spot as a Best Picture nominee.