© Ascot Elite/Paramount

Metallica – Through the Never
U.S.A. 2013

Opening 3 Oct 2013

Directed by: Nimród Antal
Writing credits: Nimród Antal, Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Robert Trujillo, Lars Ulrich
Principal actors: Dane DeHaan, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo

Settle down for a 90-minute, non-stop, live concert of the world’s most successful heavy metal (or trash) band: Metallica. Band members are Jan Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Truijillo. Hetfield and Ulrich are original founding members; they started it up, right there in their southern California garage (naturally) in 1981, and now, 32 years later, they still seem dedicated, powerful, and, believe it or not, young. Their success gives them new energy, besides the fact that they just love their work. After having achieved all goals, they decided to film a concert – in the superlative. They connected with director Nimród Antal and stage builder Mark Fisher. The stage is 61 x 18 meters, almost as big as a hockey field. There were 24 cameras, and the viewer is practically on stage with the band. They revived props from former concerts such as the Roman goddess of Justice, coffins, an electric chair, crosses, and naturally all kinds of balls of flame. They played a pre-film concert in Mexico and then took it all to Vancouver and Edmonton in Canada, where they played and filmed five concerts which resulted in 60 hours of material. For variety, they created a simple story about Trip (Dane DeHaan), a Roadie who must fetch something from a fictitious city; Trip experiences a car wreck, run-ins with a mounted hangman named Death Dealer, and a post-apocalypse neighborhood. These “events” relate back to songs, although simply the concert alone would have been enough. All for a cool 32 million dollars.

You don’t have to be a Metallica fan to appreciate the end result and enjoy the music. It’s in 3D, but if you like clearer, less dark, scenes, take off the glasses. Language is easy: there is no text; the music is the plot. You’ll hear “The Memory Remains,” “And Justice for All,” “Nothing Else matters,” etc., 16 songs in all. This will find an appreciative audience in Hamburg, considering that all 74,000 tickets for the annual Wacken Heavy Metal Festival 2014 (!) sold out in 44 hours after they went on sale 11 months in advance. And when the musicians say, “Are you alive? How does it feel to be alive?” you’ll definitely scream, “yes.” Stay until the last minute for a small musical gem. (Becky Tan)

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