Likewise, the succinct script underneath him makes sure that wherever we go, we’re never distanced from our protagonist, yet wisely kept a step or two behind his own thought process. Marder, who also co-writes the film with his brother Abraham, doesn’t feel the need to delve into every corner of this specific circumstance because, frankly, Ruben’s biggest concern is his music and his girlfriend, and that’s enough for us as well. Marder almost doesn’t begin developing Ruben’s character his moods, his tendencies, his temperament, his resolve until after the onset of his problem, which occurs within the first 10 minutes. Prior to that, the director spends his time building the world around Ruben and his dedication to it.
Marder sprinkles subliminal foreshadowing within the brief first act, such as the enjoyable conversations Ruben has with Lou during their time on the road driving from city to city, our protagonist stepping outside of his Airstream each morning to greet the day and the noises around him, the sound of the coffee pot and blender as he prepares breakfast, and of course music, which he surrounds himself with at every moment—things that we see Ruben enjoy, even if they’ve become a rote part of his life at this point; things that remain in the back of our minds throughout his struggle later on.
If we’re being honest, Ruben wasn’t necessarily an overwhelmingly happy guy before he went deaf. He was content with the current state of his life—drumming in a successful band, touring with his girlfriend, and recovering from his heroin addiction—but only if the future he had plotted out for himself actually came to fruition. He’s almost certain that it will.