"What the f--- was that?" someone screamed at the end of my screening of Metallica: Through the Never. It's an excellent question.
It could be argued that Metallica: Through the Never is a concert film, one that uses vigorous close-ups and swooping camera moves to give us a more-primo-than-primo seat at a 90-minute set by the head-bangers who have been at the top of their field for three decades.
Metallica's music is not my thing, but the camera work is so fluid and the musicianship on display is so impressive that they triumph over the dopey, Pink Floyd knock-off, death-and-destruction stagecraft that threatens to overwhelm the songs.
I was amused to note that, like Beyoncé, singer James Hetfield enjoys costume changes. (Unlike her, he has a belt made of bullets.)
Unfortunately, there's also the Through the Never part of the title, which is a side story intercut with the concert sequences. Actor Dane DeHaan plays a roadie who is sent on a mission during a show, only to encounter a goony vision of urban apocalypse, complete with a riderless horse and an ax-wielding merchant of death. He dies, is reborn and returns in time for the encore.
The sequences are surreal, which is sort of intriguing, but they add nothing to the concert footage. In fact, if you add up all of the time to devoted to them, the scenes take away time during which Metallica could have treated fans to a couple more songs.
'Metallica: Through the Never'
R for some violent content and language. Picturehouse. 1:33. Hamburg.