The compelling film “Sound of Metal” centers on Ruben portrayed by Emmy winner Riz Ahmed (The Night Of). He is a drummer who plays in the band “Backgammon” with his girlfriend Lou. The part of Lou is played by Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One). The two live in an RV and are currently touring across the country to promote their music. Toward the beginning of the film Riz begins to have a great deal of trouble hearing, which is not surprising considering the heavy style of music he and Lou play.
Taking a trip to the pharmacy, hoping to alleviate the problem with something he can purchase over the counter, Riz learns he has a serious problem. The pharmacist (Michael Tow) makes a phone call to a doctor’s office, and sets up an immediate appointment for him. While there Riz is informed by Dr. Paysinger (Tom Kemp) that he has lost the majority of his hearing. He only, according to the doctor, has about 20% left and it is going to get progressively worse.
Ignoring the doctor’s warning, Riz wants to continue with the tour. Lou won’t hear of it. She makes arrangements for Lou to go to a place that helps deaf people. The place is a self contained country commune, where cell phones are not allowed and Riz has to turn over his car keys. The overseer of the community is Joe (Paul Raci). He is a former Vietnam veteran and he embraces his deafness. Joe has set up the community to allow people to live in a place where being deaf is not viewed as a disability, but just another way to live. (As an aside: A large portion of the cast came from the deaf community).
Riz makes the most of his time with the deaf community. Even though the people he comes in contact with there have a positive impact on him, and vice versa, he yearns to get back to Lou. Furthermore, he is doing everything he can to get enough money together to be able to pay for an expensive operation. The procedure Riz wants to have is to get cochlear implants, an option he first learned about from Dr. Paysinger. The operation, however, costs in excess of $40,000 and is not covered by insurance. Will getting the operation and returning to Lou turn out to be everything Riz hoped for?
“Sound of Metal” was directed by Darius Marder (Loot). Additionally, Marder co-wrote the screenplay for the film with his brother Abraham (The Dress). The movie is based on a story Darius Marder co-wrote with Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond The Pines). Parts drama and music it has a runtime of 120 minutes. The film has been garnering positive reviews since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2019
The cast was uniformly excellent, especially Riz Ahmed. He completely embodies his role and had to learn two skills for his performance. He learned American Sign Language and also spent six months learning how to play drums. I was invested in the movie from beginning to end. The film is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.