Riz Ahmed’s starring role in Sound of Metal has won him a best actor nomination at this Sunday’s Oscars. He plays Ruben Stone, a drummer who, after his hearing suddenly fails him, seeks help from a recovering alcoholic (Paul Raci) who runs a shelter for deaf addicts. Stone is a recovering addict, too, so the new situation puts his resolve to the test. It’s one of last year’s “best films”, says Decider. Ahmed gives the character an unspoken sense of volatility, which makes his recovery feel “dangerous and wildly uncertain”.
But the question hanging over Stone as he tries to make sense of his deafness, says Little White Lies, is this: “If you could change this perceived disability, would you?” To add to the authenticity, Ahmed and his co-star Olivia Cooke are joined by a cast of mostly deaf actors. While Stone agonises over the best course of action, the film “feels like a landmark moment in disability representation”.
It’s the details that make this film remarkable, says The Observer, from the “wall of noise” of the rock performances to the “heated group debates conducted in American sign language”. It reminds us of cinema’s ability to “challenge, entertain, uplift and unite”.
Sound of Metal is on Amazon Prime.
Line of Duty
The BBC drama about police corruption has picked up the pace after the first “three lacklustre weeks” of its new series, says Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph. The turning point was episode four, which was “an absolute belter”. Perhaps Jed Mercurio “really is the genius he thinks he is”.
A whopping 10 million viewers tuned in to watch episode five last Sunday, which was “madder and busier than a wet hen”, according to Carol Midgley in The Times. “It’s either feast or famine with this series; nothing happens, or everything does.”
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Last week, the BBC’s head of diversity accused Idris Elba’s Luther of not being “black enough”, says Stephen Bush in the New Statesman. The fictional policeman was blasted for not eating Caribbean food and not having black friends. But “the joy of Luther lies in it being both high-quality hokey escapism and a drama with a protagonist who is incidentally black”. It’s what drew Elba to the role and it’s what makes for such good telly. “Just as I don’t want every damn word I write to be refracted through the prism of being mixed race”, sometimes “I just want to be able to watch a show about a protagonist who happens to be black”.
If you want to make up your own mind, all 20 episodes are still available on iPlayer. At first glance, the story of a “tormented but brilliant” cop might seem too familiar, said The New York Times. But Elba makes the concept look “decidedly novel”. This is a London full of “deranged evildoers”, a world “where families are under siege”.
In many ways, Luther harks back to an era of “no-nonsense crime busting”, says the Scottish Daily Mail. “He drives a Volvo that’s old enough to have given rides to the Kray twins, and his jokes are so callous that they’d make Jack the Ripper laugh.” It’s only the “graphic” depictions of violence that are “entirely modern”.