Roadie Trip (Dan DeHaan) is sent to find a bag that the band Metallica needs while the bands plays an explosive concert.
Metallica Through the Never is an explosive, surreal concert film that blends a live concert performance by Metallica with a story that follows Trip as he attempts to find the bag the band needs that night. A greatest hits set from Metallica supplies the music for the film as Trip encounters one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (surprisingly, the song The Four Horsemen doesn’t appear in the film), a riot, and sets himself on fire to fight a roving gang of rioters and police working together. The story never makes much sense, but the imagery is striking while the metal of Metallica provides the iconic soundtrack to Trips strange night.Directed by Nimrod Antal (Vacancy, Predators), this is the best concert film I have ever seen. Of course, I am a Metallica fan, but I don’t think that is a prerequisite for enjoying this film. Not only are the story portions visually arresting, the concert footage and stage set up is staggering. Despite Metallica offering some lazy album work since 1991’s Metallica (also known as The Black Album), they had a resurgence with Death Magnetic and that resurgence shows on the screen. Yes, a Metallica show is something to behold (I have seen them live twice). Yes, this film capture the essence of the band at their best, even in truncated form. When I say truncated form, I mean that Metallica usually play 3 hour shows and this film is an hour and a half long. Needless to say, the set list is nothing more than a ‘best of the best’ of their repertoire. There are certainly some classic tracks missing from the film, but, on the plus side, they wisely avoid anything from their god-awful St. Anger album. The story portions of the film, directed and visualized like an expensive music video, follows Trip through this surreal nightmare. He encounters rioters and police clashing. He encounters one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who then proceeds to chase him through the rest of the film. He encounters bodies hung from light-poles on city streets, left there by the Horseman (Death, perhaps?). What is never clear, and never intended to be, is who the Horseman is and what is actually going on in the unnamed city and why he is fascinated by Trip. We are also never told what is in the bag the band needs that night, why it glows when Trip opens it (ala Pulp Fiction), and why a little bag requires an entire box truck to move. The contents of the bag are inconsequential, but, dammit, if it didn’t leave me curious. Going into the film I was a Metallica fan. I don’t think that is a prerequisite for enjoying the film. From the extremely expensive stage set-up, to the surreal nightmare confronting Trip, Metallica Through the Never is a masterpiece of inventive concert film-making. It is head and shoulders above anything else out there. Do yourself a favor and see this film! **** out of ****