Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Darius Marder. Cast: Riz AhmedOlivia CookePaul Raci 

It’s rare when talking about a film to highlight the sound mix and sound design as its winning features which make it so special, but in this case they really are. Never before the experience of what must be like for a person to go deaf has been so cleverly and successfully rendered in a film. It’s a simple and beautifully judged device, but it’s also very effective. If that didn’t work as well as it does, I believe most of the power of the film would diminish, despite Riz Ahmed’s great performance, which is really the soul of the film. At times we really understand what he’s going through and what he’s feeling because of the way the sound make us understand his predicament. I’m not trying to take anything away from him performance (he may even get the Oscar, snatching it from Anthony Hopkins), but in this case the acting and the sound go together hand in hand.

Beyond all that, the plot itself is actually very simple and the arc of the story rather predictable (It has echoes of another film about deaf people, “Children’s of a lesser God”).

There are various subplots and open-ends which don’t quite fulfil their duties: for example , his friendship with one of the people from the community (plot which seems completely abandoned in the third act), or the whole recovering drug addict side fo the story. None of that plot line is developed and in the end it makes no difference whether he used t one a drug addict or not.

Also the timeframe seemed a bit too contrived and conveniently opaque: I could never quite grasp how much time was passing between scenes: it seemed it could have been weeks or months, but often the film plays it as if it was just days (though clearly one doesn’t just walk into a hospital to have an hearing surgery), while in reality these things probably take years.

But I don’t want to sound down on the film, even if it didn’t quite manage to touch my buttons (surprisingly, because I am usually a cry-baby for this sort of things, which leads me to believe that the film was missing something) there were still plenty of lovely movements in it, particularly in the middle section within the school/community environment, those earlier scenes around the dinner table where Ahmed feels completely alone surrounded by dozens of deaf people (a trick played again later on during a birthday party, that time among people who can actually hear) and every single scene with the scene-stealer Paul Paci (Oscar Nominated too) which I adored for every single frame he was in the film.

This is going to be talked about quite a bit at the Oscars and I’m happy for it, but it’s not quite the masterpiece people are making it to be (my rating is more 3 1/2 stars… than 4, but I don’t give half stars so here’s a 4 for you. Riz deserves it) 😉

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