Could you imagine just waking up one day and all of a sudden your sight or hearing is non-existent? Now imagine that being compounded if you at the way you earn a living is in the arts as a vocalist or musician. That is Ruben Stone’s reality. Stone is a drummer for a rock metal band with his girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) when his hearing dissipates during a gig and turns his world completely upside down. If all that weren’t bad enough, he’s a recovering addict.
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.
The manner in which Marder brings us into the world of Ruben as he navigates the complexities of deafness into a post cochleae world is incredibly intricate and heartbreaking. One can’t help but get swept up into the drama of it all. Kudos to the entire sound department, Jaime Baksht, Nicholas Becker, Phillip Badh, Maria Carolina Santana Caraballo Gramcko and team for allowing us to hear what it must be like for Ruben with such gritty reality.
The performances of Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke as two co-dependent addicts that are hooked to each other for all the wrong reasons, proves once and for all that Ahmed is definitely a force to be reckoned with. The last ten minutes of the film captured in complete silence tells you everything you need to know. Coupled with Olivia Cook, their chemistry is palpable and we witness them together all to brief a period of time.
Sound of Metal provides a chapter in the lives of hearing impaired that I have never seen onscreen, but am ecstatic it finally exists. Watching Ruben go from this high-octane personality to finding sense of peace while learning how to navigate this new existence was quite interesting and educational. Make it your business to check it out when it hits theaters on November 20th and will be available to stream via Prime Video on December 4th.