Sound of Metal
** If a noisecore drummer loses his hearing, should anyone care? Sound of Metal presents a remarkably empathetic portrait of that rare beast—the working hardcore percussionist committed to sobriety and a girlfriend/bandmate—yet shows just a taste of the goodish life Ruben (Riz Ahmed) and Lou (Olivia Cooke) share while touring in a cozy Airstream before his sudden loss of hearing tears their plans asunder. While the plotline might seem eerily similar to the 2004 indie flick It's All Gone Pete Tong, this story isn't about punishing hubris. Ruben, unlike Pete Tong's superstar DJ, has already dealt with his substance-abuse issues at the film's start, and he tries his damnedest to embrace the silence suggested by deaf guru Joe (Paul Raci) at a cultish American Sign Language camp. Unable to abandon his eterna-gigging life plans, our hero neither hears nor listens to the increasingly gloomy diagnoses en route to affording the semblance of hearing promised by cochlear implants, which prove a maddeningly false tease. This directorial debut from The Place Beyond the Pines screenwriter Darius Marder exploits next-gen soundcraft and Ahmed's electric vapidity to its best advantage while ignoring moralistic conventions, but there's a troubling condescension pegged to the protagonist's chosen genre and instrument. Would a talented singer-songwriter be so blithely expected to accept medical practicalities rather than further damaging health in pursuit of doomed passions? Would Beethoven? At the end of the day, this is an expertly crafted labor of love championing the abandonment of dreams. What's the sound of one hand clapping? R. JAY HORTON. Amazon Prime.