Director: Nimród Antal.
Starring: Dane DeHaan, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo.
Running Time: 94 minutes.
Synopsis: Young Metallica roadie, Trip (DeHaan), is sent on a mission during the band’s live performance. What starts out as a simple pick-up and drop-off job turns into a night of epically surreal adventure.
Arguably the linchpin of the Big Four, which includes Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, Metallica played a significant role in helping to form the thrash metal music subgenre. In California in 1981, James Hetfield (rhythm guitarist and lead singer) answered an advertisement from Lars Ulrich (drummer), which sought to find fellow metal musicians, and thus, Metallica was born. Since then they have released nine studio albums, their lineup has changed several times, and they have been the subject of numerous documentaries, including METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER (2004), which depicted them during their work on their controversially received eighth album, St. Anger (2003).
Similar to their 1998 offering, CUNNING STUNTS, METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER (M: TTN) is essentially a concert film. The difference is the latter is interspersed with scenes from a short film, which focuses on Trip’s trip. The drug-fuelled misadventures of Metallica’s roadie are visually arresting at times, and DeHaan is an excellent choice for the role. With very little dialogue, his expressive demeanour is key to maintaining what little story there actually is, as eighty per cent of the film consists of Metallica performing live on stage in Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada.
The live sequences do offer a better-than-front-row seat to a performance of Metallica’s most iconic songs, but the stage theatrics resemble a mixture of their previous efforts, which is enjoyable, but slightly lazy from a fan’s point of view. Being a fan becomes necessary to enjoying M: TTN, as James and the lads annihilate your ear drums for extended periods of time with the likes of ‘Creeping Death’, ‘Fuel’ and ‘Battery’. Although the surreal action sequences accompanying their epic set pieces are mildly amusing, it all feels a little bit redundant, offering little by way of story or to Metallica’s repertoire overall. Co-written by the band and Antal, M: TTN seems as though it’s just a vehicle to keep the Metallica name alive.
This is definitely one for the fans or potential fans of Metallica thanks to the explosive live performance from them, even if it is little more than another vanity project. Testosterone, action and dirty riffage is the order of the day, as usual, from the fearsome foursome.