I finally got around to seeing Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal and it lived up to the hype around Riz Ahmed, Paul Raci (!), and the sound design (plus shots of the middle Midwest that can never be under-observed by the movies).
But Paul Raci’s message three quarters of the way into the movie about “those moments of stillness, that place, that’s the Kingdom of God. And that place will never abandon you” even as the world keeps moving hits hard. Riz Ahmed’s Ruben’s in that moment cannot keep still. He leaves that garden and returns to a world that is moving and passing.
At the end of the movie Ruben is in Paris and he is a far as from silence as can be. His new cochlear implants distort the sounds of everyday life. Sitting on a park bench, the distortion of church bells ringing drives him to remove his implants and he sits still.
Bells are symbols of sound: bellowing, ringing, “voice, soul, the breath.” But most of the time, these instruments of noise-making are quiet. They sit still and hold silence.
The carol of the bells would be less beautiful if you were forced to hear it non-stop, or worse… forced to ignore it non-stop. Maybe it is only by holding on to the stillness that we can cherish the carol of bells, the carol of life.
Sound of Metal is the story of a bell learning to remember stillness, the place that never abandons you. It ends on a hopeful note that maybe the song of everyday life can find balance with the eternal stillness from which all things come.
I really liked the ending credit song and assumed it was a recent song I somehow missed. But no! It it is the director’s brother and co-screenwriter Abraham Marder’s original song .
From an interview:
“The charge of writing a credit song for Sound of Metal was uniquely difficult,” Darius Marder says. “How do we break the silence? Can we treat our credit sequence, less as an end and more as an additional scene in the film—a final piece of sonic poetry that allows us to stay with Ruben for another 4 minutes and 22 seconds? I knew only Abraham could author such a journey. Abraham’s voice, both in song and in word, is singular, raw and pure.”
“‘Green’ is meant to serve as a final unexpected psalm at the end of Ruben’s hard-fought experience,” Abraham Marder says. “It’s meant to allow us a collective, final moment where we can join him in this final stage of surrender and recognize that we all go this road alone and in this way, we are joined.“