Run time: 120 mins
Riz Ahmed gives a career-defining performance in this heartfelt drama challenging the perceptions and assumptions surrounding the deaf community.
Life feels like it’s almost over for punk metal drummer Ruben when he loses his hearing overnight. Concerned about falling back into bad habits, the former heroin addict is persuaded by his bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) to enter a rehab facility for the deaf to help deal with his anxieties. Devastated by the end of his touring life with Lou, Ruben is caught between the agonising longing for his old life on the road and accepting his new status.
Based on an unfinished project called Metalhead by co-writer Derek Cianfrance, it is a wonderfully executed story of loss, denial, acceptance and new beginnings. Ahmed and Cooke put in two electrifying performances as two people struggling to accept the inevitable as they adjust to the changes in their lives.
Director Darius Marder completely does away with the stigma attached to disabilities. “Being deaf is not a handicap, not something to fix,” explains facility coach Joe (Paul Raci) in the hope of getting through to Ruben. It is this idea that sits at Sound of Metal’s heart. (Chris Coetsee)