A Review: Riz Ahmed Deserves an Oscar for 'Sound of Metal'
The star of Four Lions, Star Wars: Rogue One, Venom just did a number on us with this epic performance in this very well written, 'deserves way more hype' movie 'Sound of Metal'!
Directed and written by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder, 'Sound of Metal' follows
Ruben (Riz Ahmed) and Lou (Olivia Cooke) who live together, two nomads traveling gig to gig on an endless American tour. Their music is loud, frenzied and passionate, until one day Ruben is overwhelmed by a severe ringing in his ears, which quickly gives way to deafness. Ruben is suddenly overcome by anxiety, depression, and soon enough his past addictions begin to surface. Ruben checks himself into a home for deaf addicts run by an eccentric deaf veteran, Joe. In this world of silence and under Joe’s tough, observant care, Ruben must confront himself more honestly than ever before. But the love and sound of his old life echoes in Ruben’s mind, calling for him to return…
Thanks to Media Hive, we had the chance to have a virtual chat with Riz about his achievements thus far, what he had to say about the film and the importance of representation in the industry he's leaving his mark in.
This film really gives light to the deaf community, in a way that has never been done before.
"Deafness isn't a disability, it's a culture to many people. I feel like the deaf community taught me what listening really is"
Riz continued to praise the filmmakers and explained
"Art and identity relate to one another. Identity shapes our Art, you make certain kind of work because of experiences. But sometimes, your Art shapes your identity. So when you make certain kinds of work it allows you to think about yourself differently. Art has to come from a personal place and when you make that Art it changes you as a person"
The film's audio was so cleverly put together that as a member of the audience, it felt like I was experiencing it with him. The sudden drop in his hearing as he visits a record store, the 'loud silences' he experiences around him in situations he cannot hear, his frustration when he is trying his best but putting on a brave but broken face whilst doing so, his bursts of anger as he feels helpless on the inside. All whilst trying to hang on to the love of his life, feeling lonely even in her presence. The absence of a film score in the majority of scenes honestly made me feel as if I was truly experiencing this with him.
It's no doubt that Riz Ahmed is on a very rare success train with the mainstream roles he's been in, I asked him how actors can avoid being type-casted? Do we have to write our own material? Do we wait for a role to magically land on our laps? Do we have a good Agent on our side?
"Progress doesn't come by waiting around for it. You have to step up and take it. The progress that I made is built on the backs of people before me"
as Riz continued to humbly praise the likes of Art Malik, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Irfan Khan and more.
"...on an individual level, if you have a story to tell you have to step up and tell it. Stories need to be told, and there's so many stories in our communities that haven't been told that I'm excited to do more of. It's hard work. It doesn't happen overnight, it takes a lot of knockbacks, late nights and early mornings. It takes a lot of overcoming self doubt, persevering but more than anything it takes people before you to pave the way. I haven't parachuted down through space and time and suddenly found myself in this very lucky position. There were generations of people before me who have paved the way for someone like me."
Upon recent events of meeting dead ends when pitching our series 'Take-Awasian' to broadcast companies that eventually declined the idea. I asked Riz - what if the industry doesn't give you a chance? You pitch an idea that pushes representation but you're not given the platform to do it?
"People in positions of influence need to make space. People like me need to argue for that space to made. People who are starting out need to try and do as amazing as possible at what they're doing. But I think it's difficult because sometimes you have to be given that first, second, third chance to get better. That is the responsibility of the decision makers. But the responsibility of those who want to break into the industry is, unfortunately, to work twice as hard to get half as far. That's the reality of life that it can be unfair, but what do you do about it? You have to be better, have those extra muscles and be willing to work harder. Sometimes you need to focus on is - what is in your control?"
We all know that the talented Wembley born and raised actor is the first British South Asian Muslim to be nominated for an Oscar, how does he feel about being in that position and what does it do for the Asian community moving forward?
"I think if it makes a contribution down that road of broadening peoples horizons and creates opportunities then that's great. But I am aware that the success of individuals doesn't neccessarily result to the whole system being changed. As well as celebrating these individuals successes we need to keep an eye on the bigger picture and understanding there's still work to be done. So hopefully it's not an opportunity for everyone to put their feet up and think 'mission accomplished' it's encouragement to continue to move forward."
Wise words from the man himself, it's safe to say that after reading this article back we all feel ready to take on the world! Let's hope that Oscar sits on Riz's shelf at home!