Sound of Metal (2019)
December 14, 2020 8:37 PM - Subscribe

A heavy-metal drummer's life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.

Riz Ahmed is just amazing here. At certain moments it was hard to listen to; several times I felt as if I were the one losing my hearing. Wonderfully understated performances by the supporting cast but Ahmed owns this.
posted by the webmistress (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed this so much and appreciated the subtle, kind of ambiguous ending.

In my headcanon, Rubin continues drumming and becomes a performer like one of those in See What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary.
posted by cadge at 7:37 AM on December 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

This was great, I wasn't sure why they had to isolate Ruben from his car and phone to make him better. It seems like removing someone from all their support systems as they go through a major transition wouldn't be q good idea. I'm sure there's good reasons but it's not conveyed and didn't seem primed for success.
posted by Carillon at 12:43 AM on January 24, 2021

They are also addicts, though, so maybe there is the idea that their support structures are probably all broken.

Hire Rick Riz Ahmed is so good, even when he's in some silly stuff.
posted by fleacircus at 1:25 AM on February 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

Beautiful movie, and the way the church bells distorted by the cochlear implants sound like the music he plays with Lou....just brilliant.

I did have a hard time accepting that Ruben would be so unaware that cochlear implants are not a perfect replacement for regular-ear-canal hearing. Early on, maybe, but by the time he's laid down all that cash and had multiple sessions with doctors during the lead-up? Apparently deaf community response to the movie has been very positive, so maybe I'm off base here.
posted by HeroZero at 7:01 AM on March 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I wanted to like this film but, man, it was depressing. Riz Ahmed is a wonderful actor, but I found it hard to engage with any of the characters and as a result I wasn't invested in the story.
posted by essexjan at 11:57 AM on April 13, 2021

I was genuinely surprised that Act III of the film wasn't Ruben realizing that Joe was a toxic manipulator and abuser, whose actions are more in line with a wannabe cult leader than a group home coordinator. I don't mean that in a contrarian sense, I mean I was legitimately expecting that was how the story was going to go.


-Removes people in his care from having ANY contact with their loved ones at all. (Seemingly permanently, as Ruben continued to sneak into his email after having been there for what seemed like months)
-Also takes away their transportation, making it much harder for them to leave of their own volition
-Is capricious in his affection. (Scolding and arguably punishing Ruben for...trying to help out around the house?)
-Assigned a repetitive and solitary activity—sitting alone in a room all day writing—that is borderline punitive and is used by cults as a form of brainwashing.
-Banishes a member of his community when he's at his most vulnerable for going against the group's orthodoxy.

I get that this is a group home for recovering addicts, but Ruben was treated by Joe as if he was on the verge of relapsing the entire time he was there with almost no evidence that he was actually in any danger of doing so. Joe kept telling Ruben he was two seconds away from shooting up but we as viewers never see Ruben contemplate doing heroin again at any point in the film.

I don't know, I was just really surprised that we were supposed to see Joe as a wise and loving mentor when to me he came off as a power-tripping creep. I was so sure that the film was headed to Ruben having that same realization.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:12 PM on April 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I could not disagree with you more Ian A.T.

Is that not how every rehab in the world works? Leaving people with their phones allows them to contact outside forces to secure drugs. Leaving people with their vehicles allows them to leave when they're feeling even slightly vulnerable, the time when it's best for them to stay.

Joe kept telling Ruben he was two seconds away from shooting up

I finished the movie 5 minutes ago. Joe never says this once to Ruben, let alone "keeps telling" him. This didn't happen.

Assigned a repetitive and solitary activity—sitting alone in a room all day writing

This was not his task. His task was to be alone with himself in the silence and only write when he couldn't do that. Joe is trying to get him to the place he's at at the end of the film, where he can accept that the silence is the way the rest of his life will be.

Further, his girlfriend, Lou, calls his sponsor within 30 seconds of him having a cigarette! Practically his first reaction after losing part of his hearing is to run to a stimulus. If this is the reaction of his girlfriend of four years, he clearly has bad addiction issues.

Banishes a member of his community when he's at his most vulnerable for going against the group's orthodoxy

So he should allow him to stay where all the deaf children who can't afford implants will have to have harmful reminders and thoughts about how they'll never be "normal" again?
posted by dobbs at 9:31 PM on May 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

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