October 21, 2014

Film Review: Metallica: Through The Never

 

Metallica & Co. brings Metal to the masses again.

PHOTO COURTESY OF PICTUREHOUSE

Film Review: Metallica: Through The Never

Dane DeHaan plays Trip, a roadie on a mysterious mission in Metallica: Through The Never.

Heavy metal is a funny thing. The technical prowess is self-evident while providing a catharsis powered by controlled aggression. Even though the content should be strong enough to be considered provocative, it’s still just slightly over the top to be taken seriously.

As Metallica has come to essentially define metal, the tenets listed above have come to define their latest film, Metallica: Through The Never.

Directed by Nimrod Antal, Never shows a heightened experience of what happens at a Metallica show. Written by Antal and the band, the film takes a surrealistic detour as Trip (Dane DeHaan), a roadie, must go on a mission to retrieve a bag that the band desperately needs that night. If that reads vague, it is. The fact that it’s actual dialogue doesn’t help.

Salvador Dali and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist serve as inspiration but, unfortunately, execution fails concept as the narrative is loose even by forgiving standards. While unreliable narrators and loose ends are great if you are Christopher Nolan, this shows poor construction.

Antal is a wonderful visual director but the band would’ve been better served to have one capable enough to incorporate a tacit statement about where the band is now. Unfortunately, in a weird, sad way it does inversely.

Credit the band for trying to do something artistic (2011’s Lou Reed collaboration, LULU) but was this the best and most artistic content that Metallica as a creative unit had? The film settles for being a “Song Remains The Same” clone when it could’ve had the same emotional impact as Pink Floyd’s iconic The Wall.

Creative relevancy aside, Metallica: Through The Never is an amazing concert film and being shot in IMAX only makes it better. With the exception of their acclaimed 1989 Seattle concert, this is Metallica’s best performance on film. The 3D is visceral and not gimmicky and is one of the great concert films that best captures the live feel of the band since the Scorsese/Rolling Stones collaboration, “Shine A Light.”

All in all, Metallica: Through The Never is a good effort. The band is great and the film is technically sound. Great performances all around but the hackneyed side story is redundant.

The biggest mistake the band made is not totally relying on themselves.