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Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsTIFF 2019: Sound of Metal Review

Keith NoakesSeptember 8, 201990/100
Starring
Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Writers
Abraham Marder, Darius Marder
Director
Darius Marder
Rating
14A (Canada)
Running Time
130 minutes
Release Date
n/a
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Sound of Metal is a beautiful and heartbreaking drama that utilizes sound to create an immersive and truly unique experience like none other. Riz Ahmed has never been better.

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

Now what does metal sound like? It will definitely sound a lot sadder after watching Sound of Metal. Addressing the elephant in the room, things are going to get loud but there is a method to this madness (it does not stay loud for very long). The use of sound as a storytelling device is a concept that has refound prominence after A Quiet Place. While A Quiet Place played with sound to create tension and suspense, this film uses sound in a much more immersive way. In terms of the story, the title provides a pretty good indication of what it’s about. The film’s prominent use of sound is fitting as it follows an immature heavy metal drummer named Darius (Ahmed) who suddenly found himself losing his hearing.

Suffice it to say that losing his hearing was a tough pill to swallow for Darius seeing that heavy metal and his girlfriend and the lead singer of his band Lou (Cooke) were his entire life. Over the course of Sound of Metal, we heard what Darius heard which would slowly fade away in an unpredictable manner. He was both understandably scared and confused as his condition worsened as his desired future was in jeopardy. Consolidating this with his current life was a struggle as he had to come to terms with his condition and learn to live with it. These things for him were two different things altogether. Darius’ journey reluctantly took him to a deaf community where he acclimated himself with them and their way of life which was not that different from his (the film even acknowledged his lack of knowledge of sign language in a compelling way).

The best part of Sound of Metal undoubtedly was Ahmed’s terrific performance as Darius as it would not nearly have worked as well without him. The film may have lacked sound at times but his nuanced performance spoke volumes. He was compelling to watch throughout while it was easy to feel for his character. His arc over the course of the film was some of his best work (and is definitely award-worthy). On the other hand, Cooke was great as Lou as was her chemistry with Ahmed.

Sound of Metal is about more than just heavy metal music, acting as a riveting and immersive character study first and foremost.

*still courtesy of TIFF*


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