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Movie review – Metallica – Through The Never

| 1 October 2013 | Reply

Starring Metallica and Dane DeHaan
Directed by Nimród Antal
By Shane Pinnegar
8.5/10

Metallica Through The Never movie

Metallica’s Through The Never is part concert movie, and part conceptual storyline involving young gofer roadie Trip (Dane DeHaan) at a sold out ‘Tallica concert in Vancouver.

The concert footage takes the viewer about as close as possible to the band as they tear through classics such as Creeping Death, For Whom The Bell Tolls and Fuel, the cameras almost poking up the band’s noses, which means high definition footage of every one of James Hetfield’s tattoos, every bead of sweat on Kirk Hammett’s brow, every shuffle of Robert Trujillo’s crab walk and every remaining follicle of Lars Ulrich’s hair. It’s stunningly shot, especially during the many pyrotechnics displays, and the music sounds absolutely huge.

Metallica Through The Never 01

From here on in, BEWARE spoilers…

Our roadie chum Trip is sent on a mission out into the real world denying him the rest of the gig, and this is where director Antal gets really trippy (pun intended – as we’re no doubt the character’s name was).

As Trip searches for a bag in the back of a production truck that’s run out of petrol, he’s involved in a car crash which leads him on foot into the midst of a full blown riot, complete with a gas masked horseman lynching at random.

Nimrod’s real triumph here is syncing much of the action up to the songs, and keeping the audience guessing as to whether the street action is real or imagined due to Trip’s concussion, drug use or something else.

Metallica Through The Never 02

The band are on fire through a majestic Master Of Puppets and Battery, and as Trip’s street battle reaches it’s own climax, so too is he – literally dousing himself with petrol and self-immolating.

A song or two later he is somewhere else, unburnt, and just as he thinks it was all a bizarre hallucination, the horseman is back and riding him down with a vengeance. Trip isn’t going to take that lying down though – he stands his ground, taking the horseman’s mallet and using it to wreak godlike-destruction on the surrounding city before evaporating the bad guy into a flutter of paper-like rubble.

It’s a surreal concept to run parallel to a heavy metal concert – and make no mistake, Through The Never sees Metallica on top metal form, playing mostly from their classic early albums. To go one step further, questions can be asked about the parallels between anarchic street warfare and the frenzy of a live metal show, in a way quite reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

It’s all very interesting and expertly shot both on specially constructed central stage which features elements from the band’s album artwork through the years – Master Of Puppets sees flouro crosses rise from the stage; Lady Justice is assembled and destroyed as we watch; and so on – and in the more surreal sequences – though the 3D elements are barely existent, apart from adding a bit of depth to the concert footage.

Metallica Through The Never 03

What it shows more than anything is that although Metallica aren’t breaking any new ground musically any more, they’re still willing to experiment with other media possibilities, even though at the end of Through The Never the viewer has to ask, What was the point of it all? What did it all mean?

The film finishes with a shot of the bag Trip has retrieved, but not its contents. He was on fire, beaten badly, faced off against a gas-masked horseman who had hung a dozen people, but he defeated by bashing the ground with the horseman’s hammer. The buildings around this battle crumbled, as well as causing major damage to the band’s stage set, leading them to finish the show in more intimate fashion with a garage styled Hit The Lights, in Hetfield’s only real “acted” sequence.

The trials and tribulations Trip endures are obviously metaphorical, symbolic of the outsider mentality Metallica’s metalhead fans have always felt from the band’s early 80’s inception, but the magic here is in not just the audience response to the band’s excellent cut down set, but also in the band’s acknowledgement of that appreciation, writ large on their faces.

Whether Metallica’s fans will see the action outside the live show as food for deep thought, random fantasy a la the 1981 animated classic Heavy Metal, or simply an annoying distraction from their idols live show after repeated viewings, remains to be seen, but there is no doubting that the stunning visuals provoke thought and analysis.

Metallica – Through The Never is showing in Australian cinemas for one week only from October 10th. Check the official website for links to local session times.

http://www.throughthenevermovie.com/

 

Shane

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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