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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Sound of Metal': The Weighty and Immersive Tale of a Heavy-Metal Drummer Beset by Hearing Loss

Movie poster for the film Sound of Metal starring Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cook

Sound of Metal is an intense and immersive cinematic experience starring Riz Ahmed as Ruben, drummer in a punk metal band alongside his girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cook). Touring the country fervently while living out of their shared recreational vehicle, the duo is clambering to promote their new album when Ruben begins to suffer from intermittent bouts of inexplicable hearing loss.

Deeply distressed, Ruben visits an auditory specialist who informs him that he's suffering from a degenerative condition that will ultimately result in complete deafness. The doctor explains that Ruben must limit exposure to all loud noises and offers up the option of cochlear implants as a possibility—though they are prohibitively expensive. A recovering heroin addict, Ruben is so distraught that Lou reaches out to his sponsor Hector for support, who helps to locate a center for recovering addicts beset by deafness. It’s at this center where Ruben meets Joe (Paul Raci), administrator of the program that will serve as the support Ruben desperately needs—though his ultimate fate is far more complex and surprising than one may expect.

Written and directed by Darius Marder (screenwriter of The Place Beyond the Pines), Sound of Metal is a deeply empathetic tale of personal reckoning highlighted by an absolutely extraordinary performance by Ahmed. Alongside a divine Cook and wonderfully humanistic Raci, he brings the storyline to full, unbridled realization—a piercingly forthright depiction of self-actualization and hard-fought rejuvenation.


View the trailer:


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