Director: Darius Marder
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Mathieu Amalric
Run Time: 120 mins
Sound of Metal is a poignant and original drama about a drummer, Ruben (Riz Ahmed) who loses his hearing and the impact that has on him and his relationship with his partner, Lou (Olivia Cooke). Directed by Darius Marder in his debut after writing The Place Beyond The Pines, this is a touching and at times, fascinating delve into the world of the deaf and how they integrate into society, or in this film’s case, how some form their own isolated community. Riz Ahmed is terrific in the lead role, a desperate and thoroughly down-on-his-luck individual who isn’t taken seriously by society after a stint with drugs.
The film is particularly impressive on a technical level with how it uses sound, from sequences of pure silence to the sounds of what Ruben can hear, a muffled, tinny aura of society. This film more than deserved its Oscar win for its sound and editing.
Unfortunately, Sound of Metal falters in its pacing. The film is languorous in its 130 minute run time and doesn’t delve deep enough into the inner psyche of Ruben’s personality. He is forced into his desperate situation but the film would have really benefitted if we had learnt more about Ruben’s context and character first and it would have had more pathos.
Sound of Metal is an assured first film from director Darius Marder that succeeds more on a technical level and with its central performance rather than substance. The fact that the film received the extent of Awards attention that it did heightened my expectations perhaps too much, as the film underdelivered for me.