SOUND OF METAL – Review By Gadi Elkon

Writer Darius Marder’s directorial debut is a long standing story from his collaborator and filmmaker friend Derek Cianfrance.  The story has been around over a decade and Cianfrance gave his blessing for Marder to turn it into this gem of a film.  Here is my full review of Amazon’s SOUND OF METAL.

During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew. Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world. 

A film that invokes memories of Whiplash mixed with A Quiet Place.  Darius Marder and his team make a movie that reaches past just a sad story of a drummer losing his hearing.  The way in which the audience is on this sound odyssey completely connects you to Riz Ahmed’s Ruben.  Immersive is the perfect word choice as you slowly hear and feel Ruben’s world changing.  From highlighting a coffee maker brewing heard perfectly to the loss of sound you become more aware to all that Ruben is facing before him.  Along for the journey is the powerful performance of Olivia Cooke as Lou.  Ruben’s emotional rock is his girlfriend Lou.  As they separate we find out that their relationship was what got them both off drugs.  This element of losing your only trusted former addict further expands the horrors Ruben and Lou live with in their new journeys.

The sound design elements and music composing by Abraham Marder and Nicolas Becker help hammer home this tremendous film.  It won’t shock me to see the sound team garner many awards along the way as this film stands head and shoulders above all other films in 2020.  Add in Riz Ahmed’s powerful portrayal you are left with one of the more emotionally captivating films of the year.  The title brilliantly can reflect the punk rock life of the characters as well as the literal sound of metal shown in the movie.  The film’s slow close at the end in Paris is a unique somber choice.  Sound of Metal adds a voice to an entire community of deaf people as Philadelphia, My Left Foot, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest enlightened their specific communities.  A film that highlights the tremendous strives taken in the deaf community to live a fulfilled life.  Even if Ruben is ultimately not fully sold on the lifestyle we as an audience meet those folks truly affected by their loss sense.  That group of deaf people highlighted in the film showcases how this changes the lives of children and adults.  But the ability to live complete lives is not altered or taken away from those stricken with hearing loss.  A real powerful fictional story that touches reality so poetically.

The film is out in select theaters.

It hits Amazon Prime this Friday, December 4th.


Director: Darius Marder

Written By: Darius and Abraham Marder with Story By Derek Cianfrance

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff and Mathieu Almaric

MPAA Rating: R (for language throughout and brief nude images)

Selig Rating: 4.5 Stars

Runtime: 130 Min.

Movie Site: SOUND OF METAL on Amazon Prime

Available on Amazon Prime Video: December 4th


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.


Courtesy of Amazon Studios
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