SOUND OF METAL (2020)
Riz Ahmed delivers an incredible performance in an otherwise lackluster film shows you where it’s going, yet fails to satisfyingly get there.
Ahmed plays a recovering addict and drummer in a band fronted by his girlfriend/lead singer, played by Olivia Cooke, whose life is thrown into turmoil after he suddenly loses his hearing. Both Ahmed and Cooke carry the emotional weight of the story with poise and authenticity, never for a second letting the viewer escape the struggles at hand. There also is a simplicity to the production that immediately ropes you in and takes you along for the ride. When the couple arrives at a support center for recovering addicts with hearing challenges, Ahmed’s character begins to unravel before putting himself back together again, picking up the pieces to move forward in life. This is where Sound of Metal falters, unable to stick the landing and show that our protagonist truly is a changed man. He spends the majority of the film fighting his new reality before suddenly, in a few short scenes, changing directions. It simply did not work for me.
This is not to take away from the inclusive nature of this story, focusing on a disability that rarely, if ever, is featured in film, let alone is the main focus of the plot. The sound mixing is an uncredited character of Sound of Metal, giving us an inside listen to Ahmed’s character’s point of view (ear?) balanced with the unmuted sounds from around him. Co-writer/director Darius Marder is a talented filmmaker who, with a little more focus, could tell transformative, unforgettable stories with an impact. Sound of Metal is unfortunately not that film.
Catch Sound of Metal in limited theaters Friday and on Amazon Prime Video on December 4, 2020.
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