“Sound of Metal,” March 21, 2021, Amazon Prime. Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor nominations are, deservedly, in on this one. Ruben (Riz Ahmed and Oscar nomination) and Lou (Olivia Cooke) are an up-and-coming heavy metal duo and couple in this excellent film written and directed by Darius Marder. She sings and plays guitar; he’s an intense and controlled wild man on the drums. They have been one another’s lifelines out of addiction and have a successful and healthy life on the road, gigging for their new album. Until, that is, his hearing disappears. What does it mean to be a drummer who cannot hear? What does it mean to become a person who cannot hear? How does one make one’s way in life between the choices posed by deafness and the cochlear implant? Would the latter return him to the life and the woman he loves? What does sound mean and what is life about? Along the way, Ruben learns a new way of communicating from a non-hearing community and school, mentored by Joe, the director of the facility, played with Zenlike quiet, knowing, and sometimes pained patience by Oscar-nominee Paul Raci. It’s a great pleasure to watch such a fine actor work. Ahmed and Cooke are stellar in their roles as this loving pair forced to figure how and if they can move forward together. Their work together in the first quarter of the film is truly powerful. Ahmed’s remains solid throughout although his path to knowledge within the deaf world seems overly smooth. Sadly, the script doesn’t leave much room for Lou’s development into the new person she becomes. Still this is a fine, meditative look at meaningful and ecstatic noise, meaningless and painful sound, and the pain and value of silence. Ahmed and Raci are quite remarkable here.