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A heavy-metal drummer's life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.


Darius Marder


Darius Marder (screenplay by), Abraham Marder (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
27 ( 2)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 74 wins & 159 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Riz Ahmed ... Ruben
Olivia Cooke ... Lou
Paul Raci ... Joe
Lauren Ridloff ... Diane
Mathieu Amalric ... Richard Berger
Domenico Toledo Domenico Toledo ... Michael
Chelsea Lee ... Jenn
Shaheem Sanchez ... Shaheem
Chris Perfetti ... Harlan
Bill Thorpe ... The Man
Michael Tow ... Pharmacist
William Xifaras ... Michael's Father
Rena Maliszewski ... Audiologist
Tom Kemp ... Dr. Paysinger
Elan Sicroff Elan Sicroff ... Pianist

Riz Ahmed Details His Intense Prep for 'Sound of Metal'

Riz Ahmed and director Darius Marder discuss the extent of their deep preparation, research, and risk in creating their music-drama about a heavy-metal drummer whose life is upended when he begins to lose his hearing.

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Keeping at bay his inner demons by devoting himself to art, metal drummer, Ruben, has been living for the moment for the past four years. Then, while on tour with his lead-singer/girlfriend, Lou, Ruben realises that his hearing is rapidly deteriorating. As this sudden hearing loss turns his world upside down, and numbing fear paired with angry denial take over, Ruben reluctantly accepts to join a small deaf community overseen by Joe, a compassionate Vietnam War veteran. Now, Ruben needs to find some solid ground, understand that being deaf is not a handicap and that deafness isn't something to fix. But, is Ruben willing to accept his new life and learn how to be deaf? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Music was his world. Then silence revealed a new one.


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout and brief nude images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The scenes of Ruben (Riz Ahmed) playing and teaching drumming with the deaf children were unscripted. See more »


The doctor early on in the film states that cochlear implants are not covered by insurance. This is not true. Most insurances, Medicare and almost all states' Medicaid plans cover them. Also the rehab and programming ("mapping") of the implants takes several months and many visits with the implant team. See more »


Joe: Serenity is no longer wishing you had a different past.
See more »


References This Is Spinal Tap (1984) See more »


Sweet Rhodes
Written & Produced by Jeremy Emery
Performed by Julien Emery
See more »

User Reviews

Riz Ahmed, excellent as always!
31 January 2020 | by emo_ville2002See all my reviews

Riz Ahmed is one of those actors, you simply cannot take your eyes off. It's not solely because of his good looks. He's always intense and, most importantly, he always makes you care about the characters he's portraying. In this case, he portrays a rock drummer who is losing his hearing.

As with most of his roles, he more than did his homework. Ahmed moved to Brooklyn for a few months and learned to play drums, he also spent a lot time with people from the deaf community. He showed the same dedication for his Naz Khan role in 'The Night Of', he immersed himself in the character's background. Expect no less from this actor.

Having two partially deaf relatives, I could relate to this film. Especially one relative who refused to learn sign language, they would rather read lips. Thinking of my relatives initially denying their hearing loss, this film really hit home.

Why are people bringing up Riz being Pakistani? With every role, will he continue to be defined by his background? His character was named Ruben, it's assumed his character was Hispanic. Riz can play other nationalities and ethnic groups beyond his own South Asian background. He can certainly pass for Hispanic, especially in this film. When considering Riz for a role, directors and producers should think outside the box.

The ending was extremely effective, but not a surprise at all.

Another excellent performance from Riz Ahmed. A few more films like this and he will finally have earned his Oscar.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

4 December 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sound of Metal See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Caviar See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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