Written & Directed by Nimród Antal, based on a concept by Metallica
Starring: Dane DeHaan, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo
Trip, a young roadie for Metallica, is sent on an urgent mission during the band’s show. But what seems like a simple assignment turns into a surreal adventure.
I don’t think Metallica approach anything on a small-scale. Crumbling Lady of Justice statues, gigantic Tesla coils arcing electricity throughout a packed arena, Carpal Tunnel-inducing down picked riffs; all standard issue spectacles at a Metallica show. Their hybrid horror/concert film Through the Never, is further proof of Metallica’s big-or-nothing attitude. Filled with screaming fans, giant electric chairs, and blasts of fire, the concert footage weaves in and out of a convergent story about their roadie, Trip. Portrayed by Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Trip is sent on a tier one mission to retrieve a mysterious bag (a la Pulp Fiction) and get it back to the arena while the band are still onstage. Strange things begin to happen at the arena while Trip finds himself in an apocalyptic scenario. Violence erupts in the streets, forcing Trip to take drastic actions to get the bag back to the band.
I admire Metallica for releasing such a non-standard concert film. Its ambitious at the very least. I’ve seen Metallica at least a dozen times from Master of Puppets to the Black album and I’ve never walked out saying “That was okay I guess.” Hell, no, it wasn’t just okay – it was Metallica. Oh, and that was 1986-1992, when Metallica were practically on fire with bad assery. I love cinema, love, love, love it, and would never fault anyone for trying something creative and different. This concert is absolutely engrossing and that’s why the Trip arc didn’t work for me. The concert is filmed exquisitely, brimming with authentic energy, so much, in fact, that I ended up hating the fictional angle. Epic songs cut short when the story shifts to Trip’s quest. One moment, a stunning HD closeup of the band is sucking me in, the next moment I’m watching Trip’s boring task unfold. I think this could have worked with better editing and wiser entry points, but as it stands, Trip was nothing but an annoying interruption during a killer Metallica show.
If you’re even a moderate Metallica fan, I would at least rent this. I’m sure the Blu ray is worth the money since it’s packed with extras. James, Kirk, Robert, and Lars tear it up in Through the Never, proving their importance to jaded old schoolers like me. This is a killer concert film if you can stay patient through Trip’s story. Spinal Tap fans will surely laugh at some of the technical difficulties the band encounters. I was expecting Lars to explode a time or three.
We never find out what’s in the bag Trip retrieves. Feel free to post your guesses. I think it’s either a bag of Dave Mustaine’s Jesus coffee, or maybe a signed glossy of Axl Rose. Your guess is as good as mine.