Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff and Mathieu Amalric
Directed by Darius Marder
Written by Derek Cianfrance, Darius Marder and Abraham Marder
A heavy metal drummer in a band consisting solely of himself and his girlfriend, Ruben’s life is completely dedicated to the music that he makes. As a result, when his hearing is suddenly lost, he soon begins to spiral into an anxious and unfamiliar world which threatens to lead him back into the destructive habits of his past.
‘Sound of Metal’ balances the two juxtaposing ideas of extreme noise and utter silence perfectly. For Ruben, whose life until this point has been deeply rooted in making noise – whether that be as a musician or as someone who uses destruction as a means to release emotion – the idea of hearing nothing is overwhelming. His actions as a result show him at his most honest, and the audience is able to become deeply engaged with this portrayal of emotion. Furthermore, the filmmakers utilise some incredible sound design to provide the audience an insight into what such a transition feels like. Sudden absences of sound and a continuous ringing provide a clear perspective on the experiences of Ruben, and the debilitating extent of his condition.
Visually, ‘Sound of Metal’ is a striking film which utilises the beauty of natural landscapes to reflect on Ruben’s desire to return to normality. His ability to see these areas of the world with such clarity, and yet be almost entirely unable to engage with them audibly reinforces this idea of frustration and loss. Through the use of cinematography and locations, we can begin to understand how Ruben is able to develop, and change his perspective on his own physical state from one of loathing, to one of acceptance.
When it comes to performance, it’s undeniable that both Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke are key reasons for this film’s success. Their portrayal of a young couple who’ve managed to find solace in one another and escape the cruelty of the outside world is apparent from the first moment they share the screen, and it’s this connection which provides such a great amount of drama within ‘Sound of Metal’. The impact which Ruben’s sudden change in lifestyle has on their relationship is massive, and seeks to test the very thing which brought them together – a love of music.
Now that cinemas are opening, I cannot recommend ‘Sound of Metal’ enough. To see it on the big screen will be an incredible experience already, but to go after such a long period without films being shown will only make it even better. Head down to your local cinema, buy yourself a ticket for this great film and have a lovely evening out.