m e t a l l i c a t h r o u g h t h e n e v e r
4th October 2013
9th October 2013
YEEEAHHHHHH! Sorry, really, really had to get that out of my system. This was just that kind of film. Although weirdly, I’m still not altogether sure what kind of film this wanted to be....
Metallica seem to have drifted from the spotlight a bit in recent years, although that may just be our spotlight. Their brand of massive rock just doesn’t cause the same sort of ripple it used to, especially the sort of ripple generated by the black album way back in 1990 when heavy rock suddenly became acceptable. Tarnished by a long running dispute with Napster and a fringe audience that wandered off to more mainstream groups, it’s impressive how well the band has survived. They have after all been rocking it since 1981.
So it’s not a complete surprise that after the superb documentary Some Kind of Monster, the boys are back on the biggest of big screens. On that note, if you haven’t seen that movie, please go watch it. It’s utterly brilliant. Even if you loathe metal and can’t stand the group, it is essential documentary viewing. But what of the now? What of Through the Never?
Well, just what is it? It’s not a documentary, it’s not a concert film, it’s.... Well, it’s difficult to see just why it credits no less than five writers (the band plus Predators director Nimrod Antal). What we get is (and believe me, this is pretty much everything): roadie turns up at stadium, watches band, band plays ROCK, roadie gets sent to fill empty van with gas, roadie takes a strange pill, roadie gets side-swiped at a junction, roadie find mob, roadie upsets mob, mob chases roadie..... I’ll stop there for fear of any unlikely spoilers. The story, such as it is, plays out in between and often during Metallica songs back at the stadium. The dialogue for the entire movie would fit on one page of A4 paper and the story element probably takes up around 20 minutes of the running time.
Thankfully, for the majority of this, the band do not engage in the story, which spares us the usual discomfort that occurs when bands try Acting. James drives a fancy fire breathing car and looks moody, Lars sneers at the roadie back stage but that’s about your lot. Near the end this shifts slightly and it all gets a bit cringeworthy but then the ROCK kicks back in and we’re back to normal service.
How much all of this is a problem to you will entirely depend on your appreciation of the music. Not necessarily Metallica themselves, I went with somebody who has no Metallica interest and he very much enjoyed himself, but the actual ROCK. This is (un)comfortably the loudest movie I’ve ever seen. Screened at the wonderful IMAX, you will come out with the kind of dead ears you normally only get through a concert. And fortunately the boys still have it, boy do they have it. For those of us who saw Metallica back in the day and still view Robert Trujillo as the new boy (he joined in 2003 - again see Some Kind of Monster for the brilliant bit where the band sign him), it’s a superb experience to see them up close, smashing out One, Justice for All and, yes, Enter Sandman. If only to chortle at Lars’ beer gut, James’ lack of un-ironic hair and Kirk’s always suspicious beard / moustache thing. I have nothing to add about the new boy.
The story? Ah, fuck it. Who cares. It’s pointless, makes no sense and doesn’t really add anything to the music. If he isn’t already, Dane DeHaan is going to be massive, he has that kind of slightly damaged almost pretty-boy look that brings Leonardo DeCaprio to mind, but all he’s required to do here is lope around and run a lot in grubby clothes. Having said that, it doesn’t detract from the music so I guess we’ll let it slide.
Metallica Through The Never is a great experience if you appreciate ROCK, love Metallica or have fond memories of them. If you fill none of those requirements, I doubt you’d get much from this movie. If you fill any one of them, this is well worth your money. Sit back, grip your seat and prepare to be ROCKED out of it. Metallica were awesome live and they are still very much awesome IMAXed out.
Check out the trailer here.