Fantastic Fest Review: Metallica: Through the Never

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Metallica: Through the NeverMy first thought on seeing an extended preview for Metallica: Through the Never was that it looked like Metallica's attempt to create for themselves an icon like Pink Floyd The Wall. On viewing the movie at Fantastic Fest, my impression was cemented by one particular scene where a rioting crowd faces off against a line of police in riot gear.  Director Nimród Antal foregoes the surreal animated scenes that marked The Wall's flights into fancy, but the thematic resonance is unmistakeably clear.

Chronicle's Dane DeHaan is Trip, a roadie for the band whom we see arriving before the concert on a skateboard. Told to stay nearby in case he is needed, Trip walks out into the arena where he watches as a time-lapse view of concert preparations is set to "The Ecstasy of Gold."

From there, the music almost never stops. As the concert launches into full swing, Trip is given a map and a gas can and told to go find a missing truck that contains something of vital importance for the concert. His mission, presented in cuts during and between Metallica's nonstop performance, takes him into a riot of heavy-metal proportions.

Filmed on location at two concerts in Canada (Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC and Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta), Metallica: Through the Never is flashy, loud, gritty, violent, riotous and as revolutionary as Metallica's music.  Crews construct a statue of the goddess of justice that comes crashing violently to the stage as Lars Ullrich sings the words "Justice is gone" from "And Justice For All." An electric chair is suspended above the stage arcs with lightning from an array of Tesla coils in a display as awesome as it is violent. The entire concert is pandemonium akin to a show from the group Survival Research Laboratory.

Above, around, and through all this, Antal takes the audience through the concert as if it were a ride at Disney. The effort to edit as many as 30 cameras at once is phenomenal, but he makes it look effortless. Despite the inevitable comparisons, this is more a concert film than The Wall.  As a concert film, it invites no comparison. It is unbeatable. Metallica: Through the Never opens this weekend and is a must-see for Metallica fans.