The Sound of Metal: Cast & Plot Explained

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Sound of Metal directed by Darius Marder, a 2019 drama film of America. Riz Ahmed stars as a profoundly deaf metal drummers, and Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff, and Mathieu Amalric all feature.

On September 6, 2019, Sound of Metal made its international debut as part of the Platform Prize category at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was released in theatres on November 20, 2020, and on Amazon Prime Video on December 4, 2020, by Amazon Studios. The film received mostly positive reviews, with particular praise for the script, sound design, and performances by Ahmed and Raci. That was included in 52 critics’ top-ten lists for the year 2020. It was nominated for An Academy award, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Ahmed), and Best Character Actor (Raci) at the 93rd Academy Awards, and it won for Best Sound and Best Film Editing. 

Plot of The Sound of Metal

Ruben, a drummer, is a component of the heavy metal trio Blackgammon, which also features his singer girlfriend Lou. They live in an RV and perform from across United States. Ruben comes to a pharmacy to get a diagnosis when he starts to lose his hearing. Ruben’s hearing has diminished to the point where the pharmacy takes him to a doctor, who discovers that he has lost the majority of his hearing and that the rest will deteriorate rapidly. Regardless of the fact that cochlear implants may be helpful to him, the hefty cost of the these equipment is not covered by health insurance. Ruben’s doctor suggests that he avoid any loud noises and undergo extra testing, but Ruben continues to play.

For his own safety, Lou wants to stop performing, but Ruben wants to keep continuing. He is a recovering drug addict, therefore she is also anxious about his sobriety. They approach his sponsor, Hector, who tries to find a Deaf recovery house maintained by Joe, a recovering alcoholic who lost his hearing during the Vietnam War. Ruben and Lou depart because they won’t let her live with him and he only wants the implants. Lou leaves, frightened for his security, and encourages Ruben to remain to the shelter.

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Ruben makes connected with some of the other residents of the shelter, attends meetings, and adapts to his new life. He encounters Diane, the teacher, and the others in her class, and begins studying American Sign Language. Joe assigned Ruben the responsibilities of writing and sitting quietly in order to acclimate him to the stillness. Ruben currently enrolled in Diane’s class and immediately meets up with the classmates and the rest of the community. He instructs drumming to the kids and Diane.

Joe invites Ruben to continue on as a community employee. Ruben uses Joe’s work computer to track Lou’s and whereabouts learns she is performing music in Paris. He has his friend Jenn sell his drums and other musical equipment, then sells his RV and utilizes the revenue to fund his cochlear implant treatment. Ruben asks Joe for a loan so he can buy back his RV while the implants are operational. Joe refuses, arguing that Ruben is behaving strangely. Ruben is asked to leave the community, which is based on the concept that deafness is not a handicap.

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Ruben has his implant switched on, but is displeased with the distorted sound they generate. He takes a plane to Paris[5] to meet Lou at her wealthy father’s house. Richard informs Ruben that although his hatred for him at first, he sees that Ruben made Lou happy. Lou has acclimated to her new way of life and has ceased self-harming. Lou and Richard perform a duet at a party at the house; Ruben’s perception of the sound is distorted by the implants.

Lou massages her arms when Ruben tells her he wants to return to their music. Ruben reassure her that everything will Be ok and that she saved his life. She reminds him that he somehow saved hers. Ruben packs his things and leaves the next morning when Lou is sleeping. Ruben removes his processors and sits in silence in a park, where the sound of a church bell is warped by his implants.

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Cast of The Sound of Metal

Ruben Stone, a drummer who loses his hearing, is played by Riz Ahmed.

Paul Raci in the role of Joe, a late-deafened and recovering alcoholic who runs a refuge for deaf recovering addicts.

 Olivia Cooke in the role of Louise “Lou” Berger, Ruben’s girlfriend.

Diane, portrayed by Lauren Ridloff, is a teacher who supports Ruben in studying American Sign Language.

Richard Berger is portrayed by Mathieu Amalric, and the Pharmacist is played by Lou’s father, Michael Tow.

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Production of The Sound of Metal

Darius Marder directed Sound of Metal, which he co-wrote with Derek Cianfrance and co-wrote the script with his brother Abraham Marder. Metalhead, an unrealized Cianfrance project about a metal drummer whose eardrums rupture and he becomes deaf, was the foundation for the film. The members of the band Jucifer played themselves in the film. The project was eventually scrapped until Cianfrance’s buddy Darius Marder took it on. Dakota Johnson and Matthias Schoenaerts joined the cast of the film in January 2016, with Marder directing. Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke, along with Mathieu Amalric, joined the cast of the picture in July 2018, replacing Johnson and Schoenaerts. Marder had spent 13 years researching individuals who would match his commitment to the project related to the casting. 

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The deaf community supplied a large portion of the cast. Ahmed spent eight months learning American Sign Language, two hours a day in drum classes, two hours a day with a personal trainer, and the rest with his acting coach in preparations for the film. Marder wanted Ahmed to “trust his instincts,” so he didn’t let him look over his performance’s weekly comments or script analysis.

From early to late 2018, Sound of Metal was shot over the course of 24 days. Marder labored on a limited budget, and each scene was shot in only two takes. The movie has mostly been shot in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in the Greater Boston area. Other images were filmed in Boston, Lynn, Cambridge, Danvers, Framingham, Lawrence, Malden, Rowley, and Topsfield, amongst many others. Antwerp, Belgium has been used for filming as well.

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