Time and space never ending. Disturbing thoughts, questions pending.
Limitations of human understanding.
Too quick to criticize. Obligation to survive. We hunger to be alive
―Metallica: Through The Never.
I was looking forward for this film after seeing the trailer, believing it would be some kind of documentary/action films, where the narratives follow Dane DeHaan‘s character in a story arc that developed during the course of the film. But that guess was not really accurate. Metallica: Through The Never is really a glorified visual presentation that goes well with the music they are playing. The music complements the narrative and the narrative embodying the spirit of the song. A 93-minute long music video, if you will.
Let me start this review by saying that i did not know anything about Metallica…. except their band name. So i have zero frame of reference of their songs, visual style, point of view, etc. So I am literally going to watch the film blind. Alas i think the film itself plays on iconography and symbolism that are probably more easily digested by those who are more familiar with the band. The one member that immediately caught my eye was Robert Trujillo, the bassist of the band, slappin’ that bass with vigor and so much energy that permeates the screen everytime he showed up. I probably have a certain fascination with bassist so there’s a certain bias there. Anyway, the atmosphere of the concert part of the film was electric (literally, with that tesla chair hovering over the stage during one of the performances). The music was exhilarating and there were moments where i lost myself over and feel like i’m part of the crowd on the screen, watching their concert live instead of through an IMAX screen.
The narrative involved a young runner, Trip (DeHaan) who were told to do a job during the band gig. As he venture outside of the concert venue, things get progressively weirder. There was an almost surrealistic, dystopian epic feel to it. Amongst the riots and massacres, a masked horseback rider suddenly appears. Trip must do his job though, going to a stranded van that deliver a mysterious satchel for the band.
I think this is the part where i struggle most because i am just not familiar with the band, thus i have no clues what are these symbolic images and gestures supposed to represent or whether they held any significance in the eye of the fan. I was lost, i admit that.
Lemme get a little into some of the details. I have to say the stage and effects are very elaborate to the point of gimmicky, I wonder why Lars Ulrich can be so calm beating on his drum while a huge ass statue of Lady Justice was blown apart and crumbling inches away from his place on the stage. During the concert i found the camera felt rather blurry and not as sharp, the angles are way to repetitive and the editing kind of rob some of the energy the music offered. The special effects of the stage are crazy and some are more gimmicky than a Lady Gaga, concert i kid you not. I liked some of the designs though, especially the one where the stage sort of morphed into a battleground through means of lasers, and sweeping red lights, dry-ice smokes, and sounds, the overall effect was so hypnotic and putting a certain emphasis towards their song.
In the very end, you probably would enjoy it more if you are a fan of Metallica (like the clearly ecstatic dude who was sitting next to us). I watched it in IMAX 3D and the sound was glorious although the 3D does not add anything to the table. For Indonesian who are reluctant to watch it on IMAX because of the lack of subtitle, fear not, you don’t need one, there’s very little dialogue at the beginning while all you need for the rest is just to relax and enjoy the music from the band.
METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER (2013)
GENRE Music, Action
DIRECTOR Nimród Antal | PRODUCER Charlotte Huggins | WRITER Nimród Antal, Metallica | MUSIC Metallica | CINEMATOGRAPHER Gyula Pados | EDITOR Joe Hutshing | STUDIO Blackened Recordings | DISTRIBUTOR Picturehouse | COUNTRY United States | BUDGET $18 million | RUNNING TIME 93 minutes | RELEASE September 27, 2013 (US)
STARRING Dane DeHaan, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo