Sound of Metal review: Riz Ahmed is a jittery ball of tension as a drummer who loses his hearing

Sound of Metal review: Riz Ahmed is a jittery ball of tension as a drummer who loses his hearing

Sound of Metal is a film of great beauty and great purpose. A project that first evolved out of Darius Marder’s work as a documentarian, it’s a triumphant rebuttal to films that represent disability stories as the stuff of quaint tragedy and saintly patience. Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed, Oscar-nominated for his role) is the drummer of a noise band who’s built his entire life around two things: his music and his girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke). The couple travel from gig to gig inside an old Airstream camper van. Life is simple – but brittle, too. One morning, Ruben wakes up to realise that he’s lost the majority of his hearing, as sound designer Nicholas Becker allows the aural world to crumble away and become nothing but a series of inscrutable thuds. Becker’s attempt to replicate the experience of deafness is not only technically impressive, but intelligently deployed. He drifts in and out of Ruben’s perspective, so that the audience never forgets how profound and sudden his hearing loss is. Ahmed’s performance is a force to be reckoned with. This is …
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