Riz Ahmed stars in Amazon Prime’s latest drama, Sound of Metal. This moving drama follows Ruben, a drummer and former addict, who must come to terms with the sudden loss of his hearing.
Sound of Metal is patient, sensitive and deeply emotional. It is respectful to the deaf community in the most authentic of ways and does not lose sight of its importance in the scope of storytelling.
And although the film is excellent through its direction and writing, a lot its success is through an impressive and gripping performance by Riz Ahmed.
Ahmed, who is criminally underrated as an acting great, provides an undeniable dedication and raw passion to his character as he navigates a new way of life. We can feel his every emotion with the subtlety in his eyes, and experience the overwhelming sensation of having to accept something we cannot change as he battles between treating deafness as a disability or embracing it as a culture.
Not to mention, Ahmed went to great lengths to prepare for this role. He not only learned the drums and American Sign Language (ASL), but he spent countless hours with the deaf community in New York to understand that deafness is norm something to just “fix”. Ahmed also wore custom implants in his ears that emitted white noise and high pitch ringing while on set. He even communicated just via writing.
Quite candidly, I would be shocked if we do not see Ahmed as a contender during this year’s awards season. He is truly astounding.
Another asset to the film’s storytelling is its incredible sound design.
The mixing and editing play such an important role in taking the audience on the journey WITH Ruben, instead of having them play a passive role. We experience his deafness through curated silence, high ringing and muffled noises.
Yet we are also with him as he learns ASL, slowly accepting his own place within the deaf community, through the incorporation of close captioning. It’s meticulously planned and successfully executed, making it a unique movie watching experience.
Honestly, if we don’t see Oscars for these categories, I’ve lost hope in the Academy.
Overall, this is a small yet powerful film that deserves recognition and attention. It’s touching and surprising and worth the watch.
Final Thoughts: Delicate storytelling and a memorable performance by Ahmed make Sound of Metal an incredible and emotional motion picture.