Movie Plot – The Sound of Metal: The life of a heavy-metal drummer will be completely different once he began to lose his hearing.
Director: Darius Marder
Writers: Darius Marder, Abraham Marder
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Losing your hearing
Losing one of your senses must be a frightening and awful experience. There are all kinds of ways in which you, as a possessor of all the still working senses, can get a picture of what it must be like to be blind or deaf. But what is it like to be deaf or even worse: what is it like for a musician to become deaf? My own sister is deaf. However, she was born that way.
The most famous story of a deaf musician is, of course, that of Ludwig van Beethoven. The German composer got hearing problems at a fairly early age due to a physiological abnormality and severe tinnitus.
For Ruben, the drummer of a heavy metal band, it’s a different story. That’s where the problem suddenly arises. The musician struggled for years with a heroin addiction and has been clean for four years when he suddenly has a problem with his hearing. Before a performance, he and his crew are unpacking the merchandise when he suddenly hears a loud beep, and all the noise around him gets dull. With difficulty, the drummer manages to finish his performance, and he has to accept that he has a serious problem.
Some surgeries can “repair” your hearing a little bit, but these are very expensive.
Feeling like Ruben
The Amazon production Sound of Metal is a gripping drama that distinguishes itself from many similar stories by its unique approach. Director Darius Marder tries to convey what it must be like to lose your hearing. At times we literally hear what Ruben hears (or doesn’t actually hear). It’s impossible for the man to have a normal conversation, and even the tools he’s offered sound extremely strange. It’s scary and alienating.
After a path of denial, anger, and frustration, he joins a charity club based on Christian readings that teaches Ruben to deal with his deafness and teaches him sign language. Actor and rapper Riz Ahmed learned not only drumming but also sign language. The efforts he made to identify with his character have paid off.
Sound of Metal is extraordinarily intriguing; precisely because it does more than just appeal to the viewer’s imagination. You are immersed in Ruben’s world of experience.
The Sound of Metal hits me on a personal level
As mentioned in the first part of my movie review, I have a deaf sister. Now, she’s older than me, and I did grow up with her. Some circumstances in real life made me feel for her disability, but most of the time, I didn’t give it much thought. And that’s only because I was used to it.
The Sound of Metal put me in the shoes of someone who is losing his hearing capability. Still, this is different than my sister’s. However, many scenes reminded me of some struggles my sister had to go through. Like going to a party where you feel isolated and different. Sometimes, not even knowing what people are saying around you.
In the past, she had some boyfriends who could hear. Now she’s married to another deaf man, and she told me that she would never want to be with someone who can hear. At first, I never totally understood that until now. The deaf community is real, and it’s easier to communicate with people you understand. The same goes for relationships. Also, in this film they nailed the deaf community as they do tell how they want to be seen. And that’s also the case for the people I know.
Today, my sister has two kids with another on his way. The most important thing is that she’s happy and leads a pretty normal life like any of us. So I’m glad that turned up all right.
The Sound of Metal is a must-see for everyone and an experience that you’ve never had before.
Technically this film came out in 2019 but was released on Amazon Video Prime in 2020. If the first release was in 2020, then this would have been my number one film of my Top 20 Best Movies of 2020.
Click here to see where it ranks on my 2019 list.