“Ruben. As you know, everybody here shares in the belief that being deaf is not a handicap. Not something to fix. It’s pretty important around here. All these kids… all of us, need to be reminded of it every day.“
“Masterpiece” and “Unforgettable” are two words rightfully being chosen to describe Sound of Metal. In an unprecedented year of cinematic uncertainty, Sound of Metal has restored my faith in 2020 cinema.
“Metal” first debuted at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Directed and co-written by Darius Marder (The Place Beyond the Pines), the film has finally made it’s world premiere virtually a year later (an almost unheard of scenario…thanks, Covid) with Amazon Studios. Lead actor Riz Ahmed’s performance has already earned him a Gotham Award nomination for Best Actor with, potentially, more critics group and other kudos on the way.
If you listen to anything I say, it’s that this movie is not one to skip this year.
“Metal” finds Ahmed playing Ruben Stone, a heavy metal drummer whose band Blackgammon, with singer/guitarist/girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cook), has a loyal fan base on the road. Triggered by loud venues, genetics, or a combo of both, Stone begins to experience serious hearing loss.
But this isn’t necessarily a story about someone going deaf; it’s also a story about addiction, community, and the search for stillness.
Ahmed lived in Brooklyn for several months, learning to drum and working with an American Sign Language coach to convincingly relay the anguish of his character. And his research worked – Ahmed is coming for Delroy Lindo for Best Actor this year, and it’s got me feeling some type of way.
“Not only does “Sound of Metal” try to help bridge the gap between hearing and deaf cultures, he says, but it asks audiences to wrestle with what it means for someone to derive a sense of purpose from outside of themselves. This is a movie about breaking up — in the romantic sense, as Ruben checks into a sober house for deaf people and must work past a codependency on his girlfriend and bandmate, Lou (Olivia Cooke), but even more so in the way trauma changes his relationship with the world and the life he once led.” via The Washington Post
One critic on IMDB chose to describe the movie as a step beyond “If you work hard, you’ll succeed.” It’s more along the idea that “If you work hard, you’ll succeed, then one day you can lose it all in a second, and if you work harder, you can realize that ‘everything’ is actually nothing.” A tribute to stillness.