• Strictly Films

Sound of Metal (AFI Fest 2020); One of the Years Best Film and Groundbreaking Sound Mixing.Grade: A-


Strictly Films welcomes to you to coverage of this years AFI Film Festival! Our next film on the block: Sound of Metal.


Sound of Metal tells a story about a couple named Ruben (Riz Ahmed) and Lou (Olivia Cooke), as they have a heavy metal band touring city to city. Ruben whom is a drummer is mainly surrounded by loud noises, as he plays intensely on the drums. One night getting ready for a show, Ruben out of nowhere discovers hearing loss just setting up his bands tour merch. As Ruben goes sees a doctor as he still enduring hearing loss, the doctors confirm his hearing is never coming back, but could somewhat be restore by surgery. In which they place hearing implants in his head, which cost forty grand plus. By the help from a close colleague of Lou and Ruben, Ruben will be sent to a community in which helps those manage with lack of hearing. Ruben will discover a whole new life without sound, as he’ll go through the struggles and hardships through it all.


The Cinematography was lovely, it’s honestly a well shot film. Followed by a solid composed Score, that can consist of rock or consists of emotional ballads. One of the biggest strengths this film has to offer, that needs to get recognized at the Oscars, is most definitely sound mixing... How this film is mixed is outstanding. I mean for one being inside one whom is struggling with hearing or partaking in hearing implants, was fantastic work that felt I was in Rubens shoes even. It’s honestly quite devastating just by hearing what one whom happens to be in this position, brilliant work and God Forbid if the one whom did the sound mixing in this, doesn’t get nominated it’s fantastic.


The cast all in all were great as a whole. Riz Ahmed playing Ruben had a great performance, that honestly quite shatters you. Very convincing and quite challenging performance, of one whom experiences hearing lost. Ruben as a character will honestly break your heart, as one whom has made not only a living by creating sound, but has helped him endure the many challenges he had experience in the past dealing with drug abuse. One can understand one that lives and breathes off a passion, as one can’t operate normally without doing that passion in which they have no control over doing so.


Olivia Cooke playing Lou once again had a pretty damn good performance, as well as great chemistry along side Riz Ahmed. Though she’s barely present as she lets go of Ruben, when presented the relationship between two spark magic, as well as tears some strings in your heart. Both benefit off one another when it comes to the relationship at hand, as both saved their lives as well as both came over addiction or self harming themselves from each other. It’s definitely love in which you want to experience when it comes to being a relationship, well written as far as the romance portion.


One supporting performance that really stood out was Joe played by Paul Raci, not only a pretty damn good performance but also a fantastic character. Here’s a man whom only wants to see the best out of those whom enter this community, but also want them to love themselves fully despite their condition. That lone scene in which Ruben and Joe share maybe the sweetest yet most heartbreaking scene, I’ve witnessed in awhile just by dialogue alone, where there was absolutely no over acting part by each actor. Also want to point out for the short time being, whomever played Lou’s father did a really good job as well, as his lone scene with Ruben was awesome as well.


Honestly hard to pick out flaws with this film, definitely some pacing issues here there. Plus how Ruben gets access to a computer and even his RV doesn’t quite correlate to the strict standards of this community. More so the computer room as it’s obvious Ruben been sneaking around, where it is rather noticed.


Here I thought Nine Days would enjoy a long stretch of being the best film of 2020, but just literally a couple days Sound of Metal shows up and gives them fair competition. Sound of Metal honestly floored me, as this was one excellent depressing film.


The story at hand is outstanding, not only by the storyline but also the true meaning of this film as well. The entire experience in which were partaking in with Ruben, is honestly just devastating, as you can tell his emotions are tested with this tragic lost. With his time in this community, you only see growth in which he’s becoming more happy and able to manage and learn how to handle this experience much better. Still Ruben still doesn’t feel complete without sound, as he sees from Lou online that she’s able to continue music, meanwhile Ruben is hit back with reality knowing he still can’t play his drums. Lou giving into his temptation was understandable yet we feel bad for him, as knowing this risk would end up losing his beloved friend. This story is filled with many great scenes, in which is very hard to ignore as you fully appreciate every single one of them.


The meaning behind this film can serve to those, to fully appreciate the life you have in front of you. Films like this can really bring a new found of appreciation towards life, as the small things we often complain about are merely pointless, as unlike Ruben’s position we can fully embrace the many blessings we have including the sound most definitely. It also brings new meaning in which embracing lost, in which you can’t control of bringing back. Especially in that final shot where Ruben is on a park bench, as you see him go back to his new life rather than continue rebuilding the old one. Just because you endure a lost in life, doesn’t mean your entire life is over, it just means you have to make adjustments and accept the life you currently have, as you begin to create a new and maybe a better one. This is definitely an emotional experience that’ll have a lot of people talking about, especially awards season.


Overall, Sound of Metal is fantastic and still up to debate on the best film I’ve seen so far. I HIGHLY recommend this film, will be in limited theaters in November and will be on Amazon Prime December 4th. -Mitch Smietana


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