Movie Review | SOUND OF METAL: A sonically profound experience


SOUND OF METAL movie review is here. The 2019 American drama film directed and co-written by Darius Marder stars Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff and Mathieu Amalric.

The movie had its world premiere in the Platform Prize program at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2019. It was released theatrically on November 20, 2020, and is streaming on Prime Video from December 4, 2020, by Amazon Studios.



Riz Ahmed (Ruben) is a drummer and one half of the duo Black gammon along with his singer girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke). A former drug addict, he is sober for four years. Suddenly, he begins to lose his hearing. His sponsor makes him go meet Joe (Paul Raci), who leads a deaf community. With the help from them, Ruben struggles to accept his situation.


Placing rapper actor Riz Ahmed in list of the best performance of the year, Darius Marder in the best realized human drama on acceptance and of course Nicolas Becker as the best sound editor of the year.


SOUND OF METAL is a sonically profound experience that sees what we hear and listens to what we see.

Director Darius Marder (previous documentary Loot – 2008) feature debut has the body of a soulful drama about deafness that bleeds the heartbeats of an addiction drama and is more about acceptance and coping up with a never-ending pain / suffering that may not have a medicine but certainly has a remedy.

The screenplay by Darius Marder and Abraham Marder on a story by Derek Cianfrance is about how people become victims of fate / circumstances in their life. Best friends of themselves at times and the worst enemy at another owing to an incident that has snatched that control which is not likely to come back.


Such themes / movies generally are prone to resort to the proven feel-good clichés which the writers and the director smartly avoid and make it more real, subtle and human.

Riz Ahmed’s incredible performance conveys the magic of sound and silence superbly. Ahmed’s fear, anger, his struggles between denial and acceptance, his obsessions, concerns are portrayed so beautifully.

Olivia Cooke as Lou – a strong lady who is aware of her lover – Ruben’s vulnerabilities as a four-year recovering addict who is staring at a danger of relapse due to the sudden 80% loss of hearing is portrayed effortlessly.

Joe as Paul Raci who leads a deaf community centre is superb.

A special sound of accolades for Nicolas Becker’s sound editing is a must.

Final words

SOUND OF METAL is a sonically profound art house reminder that sound is a tricky irony. At times we want it loud, at times we just want it to be mild and sober and at times we just don’t want it at all and that is silence – which we say is golden.

pic/poster courtesy: Amazon Prime Video

Critic Rating


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