“Sound of Metal” is an uncomfortable and all too realistic look at obsession and addiction

Walter Guevara
6 min readMar 23, 2021

If you haven’t seen “Sound of Metal” yet, then I implore you to stop reading and to go watch it. You’ll have to be an Amazon Prime Member as it is an Amazon Prime exclusive movie, but they offer enough free trials where you might be able to watch it for free.

I recently sat down to watch it, somewhat hesitantly as it didn’t seem like my type of film. It seemed very artsy and not quite about metal, which as a metal fun is disappointing. But after reading the rave reviews that people gave the film, more specifically, the lead actor Riz Ahmed who plays Ruben, I figured that the least I could do to show respect for the arts was to sit down for 2 hours and to not think about anything but what was in front of me.

Sometimes you watch a film or a portrayal and without noticing it, it leaves a subtle imprint on your life. This film does just that and does it in a powerful way that leaves you thinking long after the credits roll to an end about your own life and the things that we tend to cling to.

The film starts off by introducing the main character Ruben, played by Ahmed, as a stereotypical blonde haired, 6 pack toting, metal drummer with a propensity for random tattoos and a tour bus. He travels the road with his girlfriend and musical companion Lou, played wonderfully by Olivia Cooke. The dreams of a young musician personified on screen no doubt. It’s a life that many of us wanted when we were younger, but maybe not so much as we get older and turn towards building familial structures.

Early on we learn that Ruben is a recovering addict who works daily to keep his demons at bay by working out, eating healthy and maintaining a PMA (positive mental attitude) while waking up at the crack of dawn. Truthfully, it parallels what many of us do in order to maintain some kind of order and sanity in our busy work lives. We juice, we run, we lift weights in order to feel better from our day to day stressors.

But as we all know, life doesn’t quite work that way. Very early in the film we learn that Ruben has rapidly worsening hearing loss thanks in part to his years as a touring musician, though never really stated out front. But if you’ve ever been to a concert in your life and were too…

Walter Guevara

Startup CTO. Sr. Programmer. Blogger. Los Angeles native. Future sci-fi author.