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SOUND OF METAL (2020) – My rating: 7/10

Sound of Metal is a drama directed and co-written by Darius Marder.  It tells the story of a heavy-metal punk drummer who loses his hearing. While Sound of Metal moves along fairly fast conquering the life of this drummer, it stumbles along the way with gaps offering no explanations or viable future for the impending problem. I was, however, delighted to see a different perspective into the world of the deaf.   In my opinion, Sound of Metal turned out to be a pretty interesting movie.


Ruben (Riz Ahmed) is a drummer and his girlfriend Lou Berger (Olivia Cooke), is a singer. Together they make up the metal duo called ‘Blackgammon’. They live in a modest RV and drive across the country to perform gigs. Suddenly, Ruben panics as he discovers that he is beginning to lose his hearing. He then goes to a pharmacy in hopes of seeking a diagnosis but instead is referred to a doctor by the pharmacist (Michael Tow). Ruben quickly visits Dr. Paysinger (Tom Kemp), who performs a hearing test, and finds that Ruben can only make out 20-30 percent of the words he hears. Additionally, Dr. Paysinger informs Ruben that what little hearing he has left will deteriorate rapidly however, costly cochlear implants may benefit him but are not covered by insurance. The doctor suggests that Ruben eliminate all exposure to loud noises and later undergo further testing, but Ruben continues to perform in an incredibly loud environment.

When Lou learns of Ruben’s condition, she advises him to stop performing for his own safety as well as to preserve what hearing he has left. Lou is also concerned about his sobriety, as he is a recovering drug addict of four years. Lou calls Ruben’s NA sponsor Hector and solicits his help.  He finds a rural shelter for deaf recovering addicts. Joe (Paul Raci) who is a recovering alcoholic runs the shelter and is also deaf having lost his hearing in the Vietnam War. A new lifestyle for Ruben begins.

The remainder of Sound of Metal mostly delves into life at the deaf shelter.  There Ruben will learn sign language and be taught a new philosophy.  He meets new people and learns life from a new perspective.  When he finally leaves, life will look very different.  A lot happens, and it is all presented to the audience in a smooth and easy fashion.  I wasn’t fond of the way the movie ended but it remained real.  On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 96% based on 226 reviews, with a weighted average of 8.2/10. The site’s critic’s consensus reads: “An evocative look at the experiences of the deaf community, Sound of Metal is brought to life by Riz Ahmed’s passionate performance.” At the 78th Golden Globe awards, Riz Ahmed was nominated for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.  Sound of Metal streams on Prime Video — Check It Out!

[SOUND OF METAL is Oscar-nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best: Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Film Editing, Sound, and Original screenplay — Totaling 6 Nominations]