Song of the Day #4,647: ‘Green’ – Abraham Marder

Best Films of 2020
#2 – Sound of Metal

Director and co-writer Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal is another film that hit harder due to the pandemic. This story of a heavy metal drummer who has to find himself after losing his hearing wound up having deeper thematic resonance due to a crisis the filmmaker’s didn’t see coming.

Consider that the film’s main character, Ruben (played brilliantly by Riz Ahmed), is facing a sudden and foreign new reality, and struggles mightily to regain some semblance of his previous life. How many of us can relate, forced inside and into masks, away from loved ones, jobs and pastimes? How have we strained to find our old lives buried in this new existence?

We were lucky if we could find some grace in the solitude, some comfort in the silence.

Ruben’s journey is more visceral and shattering, especially because his hearing is tied so directly to his livelihood and passion. It’s heartwarming to watch him find acceptance and meaning in the deaf community, and heartbreaking to see him jeopardize that in pursuit of an empty dream.

The movie’s middle section is anchored by a soulful performance by Paul Raci (Oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actor), who brings his real-life experience as the Vietnam vet son of deaf parents to his role as a rehabilitation counselor. The scenes between Raci and Ahmed feel entirely authentic, as do all of Ahmed’s reactions with the mostly deaf cast.

Also wonderful is Olivia Cooke, who bookends the film portraying Ruben’s girlfriend and bandmate, a woman who finds new purpose of her own following his sudden deafness.

Sound of Metal had the most powerful ending of any film I saw last year, a moment of peaceful self-acceptance that felt like a healing balm in a year of so much violent disruption.

[Verse]
Gone into the rain today
Wet fields of green
No I don’t stay long
You always find me
You say c’mon
On the train today
You call my name

[Chorus]
And you wave and scream
But I can’t hear anything
I can’t hear anything
And you chase me down the mountain
Through this city but oh
My country heart
I’m only seeing green

[Verse]
Say it’s just a dream
And I’m walking in Durrow now
Sure you may be comfortable
You always got something to say
But c’mon
I know you ain’t really it
All this time shame on me

[Chorus]
You can howl and scream
I can’t hear anything
I can’t hear anything
And you chase me down the mountain
Through this city but oh
My country heart
I’m only seeing green
You can chase me
I’m only seeing green

[Outro]
Gone into the rain today
Wet fields of green
Gone (gone) into the rain today (into the rain today)
Gone (gonе) to safety (to safety)
Gone (gonе)

7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,647: ‘Green’ – Abraham Marder

  1. Peg says:

    It was a powerful film and performance by Riz Ahmed. Love your review.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    It’s interesting to me how your feelings about this and so many other films you have seen this year have been influenced by the pandemic and the year’s social and political environment. Other than being mindful of the fact that this was yet another movie I would have seen in the theater but for Covid, I really didn’t think about the current state of affairs while watching this one. I just found it to be a compelling movie.

    • Clay says:

      I don’t know… I think it was impossible for me to not view movies (or anything) in a different light during a year of so much disruption. Or at least movies that had some thematic connections to what we were all experiencing.

      I didn’t see Wonder Woman 1984 or Mank or Emma any differently in light of the pandemic/social climate, but it does seem like the movies I ended up loving the most are the ones that took on new meaning because of the year they came out.

      • Dana Gallup says:

        Well, WW1984 came out relatively early in the pandemic, and Mank and Emma focus on different time periods far removed from the events of the day. Obviously, it’s hard to watch Chicago Seven without thinking about BLM and the Trump led regressively social and political wave, just as it is hard to view Promising Young Women outside of the context of “me too,” but it seems you viewed other movies less obviously tied to current events like Sound of Metal through a different lens because of the impact covid, “me too” and BLM has had on you.

        • Clay says:

          WW84 came out just a couple of months ago (though I’ve so thoroughly forgotten it that it could have been years!).

          I mentioned Mank and Emma for exactly that reason… they are so far removed, in terms of setting and theme, from the current year.

          But whether it was the endless loop of Palm Springs, the cruise setting of Let Them All Talk, or the personal upheaval of Sound of Metal and Nomadland, I did find certain things hitting harder due to the pandemic.

          • Dana Gallup says:

            I stand corrected on WW84, but, for me personally, I found no connectivity between the pandemic and Sound of Metal or Nomadland.

          • Amy says:

            I don’t know how one can ever experience any piece of art without the context of their lives having an impact on that experience. Therefore, I, too, found that my perception of films, such as Nomadland and Sound of Metal, that touched on isolation under completely different circumstances, took on an even deeper poignancy than they might have had I seen them in a year when I wasn’t suffering from a very different form of separation and isolation created by the pandemic. Similarly, films and tv shows that might have been planned for release long before the summer’s events brought BLM back to the forefront of all of our minds also hit harder and resonated more fully because of that timing.

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