The Daily Gamecock

Review: 'Sound of Metal' plays to sadness, hope of humanity

<p>Riz Ahmed stars as Ruben in 'The Sound of Metal' (2019). The film has been nominated for six Oscars.</p>
Riz Ahmed stars as Ruben in 'The Sound of Metal' (2019). The film has been nominated for six Oscars.

Movie: Sound of Metal

Release Date: Dec. 4, 2020

Director: Darius Marder

Runtime: 2 hours

Genre: Drama, music 

Columnist's Rating: A-

With six Oscar nominations in the bag, the 'Sound of Metal' plays loudly to the heart and pain of the world in a beautiful way. 

Released in late 2020, this feature Amazon original stars Riz Ahmed, in perhaps his breakout role, as a punk rock drummer and recovering addict who, in a dark turn of events, loses his hearing almost completely. 

In a world diluted with streaming service content and soulless movies, it is constantly evident that Amazon Originals is more than its competitors. Not only has it proven itself as more than that, but it sometimes feels more deserving of cinematic appreciation than many big Hollywood films. 

Ahmed has been in a number of great movies like 'Rogue One,' 'Four Lions' and 'Nightcrawler,' where he plays alongside huge celebrities, but with this film, his career has reached a point of no return. From playing b-list roles to winning an Emmy for lead actor in 2017, he has repeatedly proved his talent and fills an important gap in this world with the representation he brings to the industry.

With 'Sound of Metal,' not only has he paved the way to fame for his own career, but he has become the first-ever Muslim actor to be nominated for an Oscar as the lead role. He is additionally the only person of Pakistani descent to gain any acting award recognition. 

Previously, Muslims have been represented with his Emmy award and with Oscar supporting actor awards, like Mahershala Ali, but they have never been in the lead actor spotlight. 

As surprising as it is to still live in a world of firsts, Ahmed's acting skills undoubtedly warrant this acclaim, and representation aside, it is exciting to think about the potential he has to set another record. 

Through his emotive eyes and mannerisms, Ahmed has such a compelling talent in his work that it is no surprise it has historical reach in the film industry. 

In this movie, Ahmed plays the non-linear anger and hunger of addiction so perfectly, while also playing an admirable and likable man of musical talent. 

Between his bleached hair and tattoos of a cockroach and the scribbled words “Please Kill Me”, he pulls off the grunge look and feel of a punk rock drummer. 

After watching this movie, it is shocking to see him in interviews or in-person events. To see a calm, clean-cut British man speaking in place of the movie's angry and constantly cursing punk rocker is proof enough of his talent. 

Besides Ahmed and his elevation of the film, the co-stars and subtle message of the film are also beautifully portrayed.

It is an incredible film that plays on themes of addiction, depression, sadness, humanity and recovery through the lens of disability and punk rock music. 

The opening scene shows Ruben, Ahmed’s character, pounding on his drum kit to the screeching vocals of co-star Olivia Cooke who plays the artistic Lou, and one gets an immediate sense of the identity of the movie. Even in the loudness of the scene, viewers can pick up on minute details and themes. 

This film is original and thought-provoking, and although hard to swallow, it puts the lives of people experiencing addiction and disabilities into perspective. This opens viewers' eyes to empathy, understanding and elements of the beauty of life. 

This film is not made for viewers who are looking to just sit down and watch a movie. It doesn’t have the story of a Hollywood blockbuster, and it doesn’t have the cathartic ending of many films. However, it has a message of finding stillness in the chaos and sorrow of the world, and it finds this by perfectly submerging the viewer into a world of pain and loss, only to find hope within it.


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