Sound of Metal as a story about shouts of silence could be presented like this: imagine if a self-dedication to cultivate one field succeeded there, then suddenly, everything was snatched away because of a minor problem. However, this small problem is fatal where you have to pass such dedication forever. It is very devastating, but as it turns out, there is more to it than which. The thing from such struggle is the only way to escape besides being a passion or a hobby.
If that is most needed in a personal battle to be better, suddenly, it is all taken away. Apart from Sound of Metal being the talk of being one of the best films since it premiered at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival, it is starting in theaters on August 14, 2020, backtracking to November 20, until release on Amazon Prime Video on December 4. Apart from being a feature film debut of Darius Marder with Abraham Marder, his brother, where writing the Sound of Metal script raises the issue of disabilities, especially for the deaf.
It is about Riz Ahmed as Ruben, a metal drummer who experiences sudden deafness. As a musician, the sense of hearing is very essential. However, this makes a nightmare and frustration trap Ruben. Sound of Metal is maximized to understand a variety of important information about the shouts of silence and deaf. In Sound of Metal, Ruben is precisely like that; a rock band drummer finds his comfort zone when he performs with his girlfriend, Lou.
They live in a minibus while on tour around the city. For Ruben, Metal and drums were more than just a hobby. It is his way of battling drug addiction. Loud music and frenetic street life are Ruben’s new life as a cleaner. However, there is a tax. He has to bear the life of a kind of passion, from exposure to loud voices every day is precious to Ruben. Hearing, gradually lost. Deciding to build a more awake life in a peaceful world, now, Ruben is like the nakedness of a child in the middle of a jungle.
He is helpless and defenseless, and drugs can easily kidnap him back.
Human and Tragic Drama
Sound of Metal is a human drama by Darius Murder about the shouts of silence, not only talking about the protagonist who has just lost his hearing. It is wise to know how a story like Sound of Metal is not just about healing hearing. Instead, it is about opening ears to a greater understanding. This understanding is accepting a loss, and it is not easy for Ruben to become one of the most personal films, especially for the deaf community.
Talking about being forced to change, the protagonist has to lose everything he needs quickly. However, it would be straightforward to become an overdramatic film. Sound of Metal is like a playground for a tragic drama, with the set for the public to contest crying and pushing the speed of the tissue box to a quick run out. Put it like a soap opera where the protagonist is suddenly blind, but at the end of the story, they do not find a realization and a new perspective of seeing a world from a different perspective.
From the beginning, they complained to God, prayed to him to be healed, and thanked him because he recovered them. It is not wrong but teasing or embellishing these elements has the impression that they and the audience have not learned and seen anything at the end other than it is about a test from God. Sound of Metal does not have these elements, a little bit with its shouts of silence.
However, it manages to introduce it symbolically but personally for everyone, especially the writer himself who has also been deaf or experienced a fatal challenge. A story with this direction is like stabbing into reality if the protagonist and audience learn this is all the result of mortal life. Sound of Metal is not about playing with emotions but instead shows a picture of human emotions related to character events.
Minimalistically, it allows the audience to experience firsthand what hearing loss feels like to it.
The Contrast Rhythm
Darius Marder reaches more than the minimum goal, with his hands, transforming into a story of respect and humanizing the protagonist, Ruben. Marder describes this film’s journey as a journey or character study, about exciting points of view for the audience to enter. In addition to bringing the audience to empathize with Ruben and all the characters, they know firsthand how Ruben feels through sound design games.
When Ruben had difficulty hearing, hearing the emptiness made the audience join to put their perspective. It is not just a matter of a ringing sound or just mute, rendering the scene soundless. Marder does not manipulate emotions through the absence of voice but tells stories in the lack of voice. There is rhythm, and Marder builds contrasts first as rock music fills every scene, and silence replaces the latter.
It is more like causing a sensation of wanting to hear, but it cannot be like this is Ruben’s point of view directly. As the intensity rises for Ruben, it is starting to attract all the votes. When Ruben starts to give up or is about to make crucial decisions, it will bring back the conversation’s voices. Apart from making Ruben able to hear through a device or making Ruben’s interlocutors able to talk with a machine, in fact, in a way to restore hearing, Ruben brought him together.
It is amplifying conflict in the middle of the story, about healing or resolving a factor or internal problem even though it cannot.
The second half becomes one of the film’s critical points, by the story Ruben lives in a deaf community. For Ruben, it was a place to heal himself. It was a place to familiarize himself with the voiceless life. Audiences will see scenes where other communities teach Ruben everything. Establishing relationships with the members, Ruben knows many people like him. He saw deaf children learn to communicate; then, he also learned sign language.
Ruben’s rehab looks friendly and calming, but not for Ruben, and he sees the opposite. At this point, Ruben still has not reconciled or accepted his circumstances. He believes he can recover from thoughts of illness as he can recover from opium. Interestingly, Marder communicated the argument that deafness itself is not a disease in which doctors have to cure sufferers. Instead, it is nothing more than another way of living and ultimate learning, as well as a hard slap for Ruben.
Hearing loss does not mean loss of life. Instead, it is simply living in a world with a new style. The passivity of the people in the community made a vocal point of shouts of silence by Sound of Metal.
The Excellent Narrative
Most screenwriters design the life of the main character from their childhood to the moment, which will be the story’s period in the film. The design or composition of the character’s life becomes the backstory, which further strengthens the main character’s characterization. The backstory also does not describe a theme, mainly conveyed in an outline to recognize and sympathize with the characters.
Ruben’s backstory in the Sound of Metal story played a significant role in the conflict. Marder’s novel tells a backstory without making the film slow-burn or making the story go wild. Effectively, Marder made the audience understand. Ruben’s necessary emotional elements to successfully address why a job as a rock drummer is so vital to Ruben. Regarding the meaning of Lou’s relationship, what is Lou’s role, and everything else is also a tiny instance.
It integrated into the story’s plot points so that the overall narrative of the film is excellent.
For a side portion, Riz Ahmed introduces Ruben as an extraordinarily dynamic character without needing to shout. For the story to focus on personal and personality issues, Ruben relies on a character’s burden. Ahmed’s challenge is to find a balance so that his character’s emotions come out even more between the drama of hearing loss where everyone can immediately connect and the drama about humans embracing reality.
Ahmed understands and makes empathy for every decision by Ruben, whether he insists on earning surgery money or when he chooses to leave the community to return to Lou. Darius Marder’s target is not to make the Ruben character appear as if he wants to take pity or pity. Conversely, it is also not wanting to seem like a perfect figure. So, what Ahmed is doing to make things happen is a game of emotions.
He takes the audience into Reuben’s reaction as he struggles to accept the reality of hearing and silence. Characters do not play as rude or noisy characters.
The Sound Design and Conclusion
However, he still feels emotional turmoil and anger, so that he does not accept it back. He uses body language and eye movements, especially when he observes the community environment, to fully convey the Ruben arc. At the end of the film and one of the phenomenal endings, it gives encouragement and inspiration about peace with reality and is grateful for a continuation of life. With sound design, direction to acting performances, Sound of Metal places character as identity and subject, not about the sufferer’s object.
It manages to become a film about more than a story of people losing their senses. As well as bringing the audience into relatable and humane issues, it is a respectful depiction of how complex and necessary an acceptance of a situation is. Apart from being a heavy film for specific people, Sound of Metal tells the difficult inner journey of the main character. The intent is to be rich due to character conflicts, not to hamper a viewing experience.
- Bachchan, V. (2020). Is Sound of Metal Based on a True Story?. The Cinemaholic.
- Kermode, M. (2021). Sound of Metal review – Riz Ahmed excels as a drummer facing deafness. The Guardian.