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Film Review – Metallica: Through The Never

5 min read

As a connoisseur of all things pop, getting an invitation to head along to a press screening of the upcoming Metallica flick, Metallica: Through the Never, was, shall I say, met with a little hesitation.  Despite enjoying the odd metal track I would never go as far as saying I am a fully-fledged fan of the genre and tend to shy away from it if anything. However, Metallica are a slightly different story. Like my other alternative love affair with The Smashing Pumpkins, a fellow rock outfit that I have been in awe of since I was a teenager, Metallica is one of those bands that you just can’t help but appreciate and be enthused by seeing live so after giving the offer some thought – I jumped at the chance. And I am glad I did!

Metallica: Through The Never is essentially a concert film however, director Nimród E. Antal has sewn a brief story within the live footage filmed at concerts that took place in 2012.

Trip (Dane DeHaan) is the films lead character who is sent on a mission by his boss to collect a bag from a truck somewhere in the city. Trip’s mission is to collect the bag with its undisclosed contents and return with it before the end of the gig. Sounds rather straight forward, right? Well, as we find out this mission involves a series of violent riots, a vengeful cloaked horseman, a car collision and residence of the ravaged and desolate city hanging from bridges. The story is tied together tightly with the Metallica concert that is taking place at the same time of these events and within the mini storyline of the film there are various Metallica references dotted, helping link the travels and situations of Trips mission with the set list of the concert being performed; a stop motion puppet that joins the actor on his quest (Master of Puppets), the overindulgent use of a petrol tank (Fuel), a lightening bolt image logo on the side of the truck where Trip collects Metallica’s ‘cargo’ (Ride The Lightening). These references help the quest and concert gel together nicely while adding a thick conceptual feel to the set list being performed by the band.

As for the concert footage – this is pretty immaculate on Metallica: Through the Never. The film is shot in 3D so the details of the stage design and props are truly spectacular to see as well as the special effects added to give the film’s conceptual storyline its epic boost.

Metallica Through The Never

Metallica is one of the greatest outfits out there and they are masters of their domain when it comes to putting on a live show. We were able to see the pure energy and passion that each of the members of the band has for what they do. Front man James Hetfield was a force not to be reckoned with as he delivered electrifying vocals throughout the film; drummer Lars Ulrich was energetic, bouncing on his thrown and getting out amongst the band within songs; guitar icon Kirk Hammett remained ‘collected’ during the concert, only occasionally letting loose on some of the more energetic tracks but for the most part just swayed from each end of the stage with a kind of suave, cool appeal to him while bassist Robert Trujillo was like a beast on the stage, creeping around almost crab-like during the set with his long black hair draped over his face.

The set list put together for the film is like a greatest hits of the bands career so fans of the collective won’t be disappointed with their song choices. Almost everything that you would expect from a Metallica gig was featured in the film and weaved within the story that was shown between songs including Master of Puppets, The Memory Remains, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters.

When watching the concert footage, I wasn’t sure whether the footage was filmed specifically for the film or whether the footage was taken from live concerts of the band. As I know now, the latter applies however the one issue I had with the film is that the audience seemed rather sedate for being at a Metallica gig. Having personally experienced a Metallica concert, I know all too well of the fan interaction, the chaotic mosh pits and over excited metallers that attend these shows but going from the crowds shown in the footage within the film, if someone told me they were in fact extras nabbed from a nearby Jack Johnson gig and dressed in Metallica t-shirts for the filming of these scenes, I would have believed them.

The closing segment of the film with the band playing on stage after the concert with no one but Trip sitting in the venue is a nice touch also and provides a laid back, ‘jam’ outro to an otherwise full throttle heavy metal juggernaut.

Overall, I really enjoyed Metallia: Through the Never and thought the concept, story and visuals through a set list of one of music’s most successful and celebrated game players is a must see, not just for metal fans but for music lovers in general. Ok, so I may never fully succumb to the metal genre after watching this concert film but I can proudly walk away from it knowing that I hold a greater appreciation for the genre and a deeper admiration for Metallica as a band.

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