Sound of Metal ★★★★★

Riz Ahmed and director Darius Marder create a crushing but still optimistic portrait of addiction, adaptation and acceptance with Sound of Metal. When Ruben (Ahmed) suddenly loses his hearing, his girlfriend and band mate (Olivia Cooke) asks he take the offer to go into a deaf addicts’ program to find his footing with his new reality. Ahmed translate the disappoint of a musician separately from his craft in immediate, tender ways drawn out of precise, subtle writing Marder and their collaborators have drawn into this movie.  Paul Raci has immediate impact in this film: the awards buzz is real, and though it’s not a flash-bang of a role (this is not JK Simmons in Whiplash), Raci takes his experience with real life deaf parents and experience in an ASL band to portray the emotions and ability of a deaf person for the hearing to more thoroughly understand. Thinking back to his final scene brings tears to my eyes in reflection. The final chapter is a consequence, and Ahmed is a choked master portraying less so an ending and more so a mourning. There’s a new life here, and he seems to have figured that out.