Ben Oliver

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Sound of Metal

Those moments of stillness, that place, that’s the kingdom of God.
13 April 2021

Ruben, a drummer in a metal duo (Riz Ahmed) is hit with sudden and extreme hearing loss. Fearing a relapse into addiction, he spends time at a rural shelter for deaf addicts.

It’s difficult to watch this without seeing it in the light of the current pandemic. We’ve all had the rug pulled from beneath our feet and we’ve all had to adapt to a new way of life. How can we adapt and deal with it without resigning ourselves to our fate? Do we strive for a fix or do we learn to move on? Perhaps we can try to do both.

Inadvertent topical metaphors aside, this is a remarkably sensitive and beautifully made film. It’s a master class in sound design, and the performances all hit home.

Sound of Metal somehow manages to dodge the forced drama of Oscar-nominated films while also avoiding becoming smug and esoteric. It’s an accessible film that manages to provide a deaf perspective on life without being “the film about a deaf guy”.