Sound of Metal is a brilliantly told look at one man's struggle to adjust to a new life he was forced to cope with. It focuses heavily on the deaf community and how they handle day-to-day stuff most of us take for granted. We get to see a lot through Ruben's (Ahmed) eyes as he struggles with deafness and never fully accepts it, triggering even more loss in his life. This recently dropped on Prime as an Amazon original, and it's absolutely worth a watch.
Ruben Stone, a talented drummer in a heavy metal band, suddenly goes deaf. His doctor says its irreparable and it's not coming back. His only hope is a $40,000 implant, and he doesn't have the money. This triggers a breakdown and denial, but Ruben's girlfriend Lou (Cooke) finds a way to help him. She takes him to an isolated deaf community that teaches him how to be deaf. He learns sign language and nearly finds peace. But all the while, he's saving money for that operation, and going through with it makes him an outcast in that community, who all see deafness as part of their life, not as something to fix. Ruben's choices are tough ones to make, and it's hard for the viewer to decide whether they were right or wrong. You get drawn into it, though, and that's a sign of a good movie.
I doubt Sound of Metal will get much attention on the awards circuit, but it certainly has the potential to make waves if enough people see it. As I said, it's on Amazon Video and it's a great watch. The sound design is incredible, as it shows the audience exactly what Ruben is hearing the entire film, from loss of hearing, to total deafness, to the implant. Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke are fantastic, and the film's ending leads you to make your own decision about what Ruben ultimately decides to do. It's a smart movie.