Sound of Metal (2020)

by Afra Nariman

Sound of Metal (2020)

Director: Darius Marder

Stars: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci


A liberating and inherently unfinished story of self-rediscovery, Sound of Metal is an incredibly nuanced and layered examination of human emotions when faced with extraneous circumstances that create a rift between your perceptions of who you think you are (or what you think you’re defined by; your believed purpose), and who you actually are. 

Riz Ahmed’s performance in Sound of Metal is a multilayered one, in which he captures a wide range of emotions; the most moving scenes being the ones when the camera is left to linger on Ahmed’s character, allowing his facial expressions and raw emotion to take control of the film — this effectively making Ahmed’s lived-in portrayal of Ruben, the film’s center. Nothing feels forced in Ahmed’s performance, or in the story’s progression. The film avoids falling into any traps of over-sentimentality, as Ruben struggles to learn how to live with his untimely loss of hearing. This process is an understandably difficult one that is presented with nuance, and with a true compassion for the vulnerability, but also the strength of the human mind. As Ruben’s mentor, Joe, says to him relatively early in the film: the goal is to “fix” his mind, not his hearing. The film’s perspective regarding the human mind’s strength in response to its own vulnerability, is cemented by Ruben’s final embrace of the stillness so often described to him throughout the film by Joe.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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