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FILM OF THE WEEK Defying disability

MARIA DUARTE recommends an emotionally charged film about a damaged soul's struggle to overcome deafness

Sound of Metal (15)
Directed by Darius Marder

AS MANY cinemas prepare to reopen on May 17 — the first time in over seven months in some cases — Sound of Metal is among the Oscar-winning and nominated films which you will finally be able to see on the big screen from Monday.

This film needs to be watched in a dark and quiet cinema to fully appreciate its emotional impact as well as its extraordinary use of sound and silence, which proves to be deafening as it depicts the heart-wrenching journey of a heavy-metal drummer as he loses his hearing.

For this, it deservedly won the Academy Award for best sound, and best film editing.

Oscar-nominated actor and executive producer Riz Ahmed, who spent seven months learning how to play the drums as well as US sign language, gives another powerhouse and career-defining performance — following Mogul Mowgli — as the bleach blonde-haired and tattooed Ruben, whose life comes crashing down around him as he loses his ability to hear.

A former heroin user, he is persuaded by his girlfriend and fellow band member Lou (Olivia Cooke) to attend a rehab centre for deaf addicts, where he is shown by the man who runs it, Joe (the impressive Oscar-nominated Paul Raci, who was raised by deaf parents and who is fluent in American Sign Language), that “deafness isn’t a handicap that needs to be fixed.”

They are looking for a solution for his state of mind, not his hearing. Many of the centre’s residents are played by deaf actors and, as the drama is told from Ruben’s viewpoint, you experience his increasing hearing loss as it is happens — two aspects which add to the film’s authenticity as he sees his life and career disintegrating before him.

Co-writer and director Darius Marder’s emotional roller-coaster drama is an immersive and poignant ride which proves to be an invaluable, thought-provoking insight into deafness.

To fully appreciate it, go and see it in the cinema.

Maria Duarte

Out in cinemas May 17 and available on Amazon Prime

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