9/10 As I began “Sound of Metal”, the opening scene begins with a performance from a two-man metal band made up of Riz Ahmed (Ruben) on drums and Olivia Cooke (Lou) on vocals. As someone who is not into hard metal (it reminded me of the fictional band in “Green Room”), I was concerned that the entire film might take place in this scremo music scene and I began to worry how that would play out over a two-hour film. Luckily, Ruben quickly learns that he is going deaf and the film pivots from “Green Room” to “The Wrestler”. The opening act of this film and “The Wrestler” are both about performers who eat, breathe and sleep their craft but are hindered by health issues and have to decide if their career path is worth their life. Just when I thought this film would follow that familiar territory, the film pivots again for the final two acts, which became what this film is truly about; a man going deaf and struggling to accept it. So much about this film works on so many levels. The script is extremely strong and the emotional rollercoaster that Ruben goes on had me tearing up on more than one occasion. The acting is phenomenal as you can see that Ahmed had to master both playing the drums as well as learning sign language for the film. Cooke is also great but she disappears for most of the film. The performance that shocked me the most was from a man I had never heard of or seen before; Paul Raci. Raci grew up with deaf parents, making this project personal for him and he steals every scene he is in. Besides the acting and screenplay, this is some of the best sound design/mixing of the year by far. The film is appropriately subtitled for deaf audiences and we hear sound through Ruben. Sometimes we hear distortions, muffled sounds, silence, tinnitus, high pitched droning, faint sounds, etc. Whatever our lead character is hearing, we as the audience are hearing and everyone who worked on the film’s sound deserve all the recognition in the world for pulling this off beautifully. Co-writer/director Darius Marder makes one Hell of a film debut as he completely commands control of this material. The pacing was fantastic as you will be glued to the screen and emotionally invested the entire time. The perfect storm of acting, screenwriting, direction and sound adds up to a film I was definitely not expecting but was so glad I spent some time with. The heart of the film comes from the deaf community and I feel like this film brings awareness to deaf people in a natural way without feeling preachy in any way. The film may give off vibes from other films early on but once it sets its own path for the remainder of the film, it completely excels in what it sets out to achieve. Now on Amazon Prime, this is one of 2020’s best films and will most likely be on my Best Films of 2020 List coming soon…

#DEAFinitelyRecommended / #BrittleDrummerBoy / #AMostSilentYear / #IfItWerentForYouMetalingKids / #MePeersAndTheDyingEars / #TheQuietOnes2

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