Sound of Metal: the journey set by director Darius Marder in this drama is a touching, cruel one. The idea of losing hearing is sad no matter what, and it’s obvious that it’s even more so to the protagonist. The film takes an unsentimental and non-judgemental stance, but this is one instance where the situation is emotionally strong enough without the need for added melodrama. The performances are efficient and (naturally) on the quiet side: Riz Ahmed is particularly good as the drummer whose life unravels as he goes deaf, and he is convincing on the physical aspects of his acting, as well; Paul Raci is very touching as the man helping him recover; Olivia Cooke isn’t given much to do, however. The film has a simple and dry look to it, but sound work is exemplary: sound design is story-relevant, as it emulates the hearing loss Ahmed’s character is going through. The device, smartly, is not over-used; editor Mikkel E.G. Nielsen makes a simple and elegant transition, visually, between when it is on and when it is off.