Metallica and filmmaker Nimrod Antal (Predators) have done something quite revolutionary with their 3D IMAX concert film Metallica: Through the Never. The movie is mostly a concert movie, with a strong narrative that explores the darker regions of human nature including radical-driven riots and the light that is fighting through anything to simply survive. Intrigued?
We have to say right at the beginning here… this film must be seen in 3D and on IMAX. What is teased in the Metallica: Through the Never trailer is small compared to the larger-than-life film. And for a band who has lived like that since they were formed in the Bay Area, to witness the movie any other way is simply a crime.
As the lights dim in the theater, the audience is transported to a city where two things are clear: Metallica is playing that night to a sold-out crowd, and there is some sort of unrest in the city that authorities are trying to get a handle on. The camera follows a man on a skateboard as he makes his way through the streets with a paper bag firmly within his grasp. It is Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, and soon to be seen as Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2). The man is a talent, and if anyone can carry a film that contains virtually no dialogue while one of the greatest rock bands of our time plays the soundtrack… it is DeHaan.
He gets to the arena and it is clear that he works for the band. Just as they hit the stage (you’ll get no track listing here… part of the utter joy of this film is not knowing what song will be played next by the guys live onstage), DeHaan finds himself off to one side throwing his fist in the air with the other tens of thousands of people. Before the song even finishes, his boss has pulled him aside. There is one more errand, and this could not be more important to the band.
Thus, he enters a world of hell that sometimes borders on a fantasy element where the audience is wondering if DeHaan is imagining it or if there is some sort of evil supernatural element at work. It doesn’t matter. Like in Pink Floyd’s The Wall, the plot and its journey isn’t truly the point. In a movie like this, everything is geared squarely at the band’s fans, and as DeHaan’s journey is told intermittently through the Metallica live show, it will delight every single one.
What else has to be said in our Metallica: Through the Never review is that we cannot think of another band that is tighter than they are currently. They rip through their set with the head-banging precision of a surgeon performing the most delicate of operations. To hear, and see them, at this height of their popularity and talent is pure brilliance.