Director: Nimród Antal
Writers: Nimród Antal, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo, Lars Ulrich.
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Metallica
Trip (Dane DeHaan), a roadie for Metallica goes on a surreal odyssey where he’s to retrieve a mysterious bag during a Metallica concert.
It’s difficult to review this as a standalone movie. I mean it is basically a concert film peppered with snippets of a short fantasy film. On paper, it doesn’t sound that exciting. On the big screen however, it’s the shit. Rarely have I seen such energy emitting from a screen at a cinema.
The opening shot of the Rogers Arena in Vancouver is gorgeous. Trip entering the arena is shot with such intrigue I was almost out of my seat without even hearing any Metallica songs. Trip sees the band members whiz by (Rob Trujillo rocking the foundations of the building in his weird room built entirely with bass amps is especially hilarious) during the calamity of the preparation. After Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold’, a familiar intro music for the fans comes to an end, “Creeping Death” starts and it’s a non-stop ride for 90-or-so minutes from there.
The sound mixing is superb. I believe it scared the shit out of the kids who were watching ‘Turbo’ in the adjacent theater. It’s really unfortunate I didn’t get to hear this in Dolby Atmos, but it still kicked all sorts of ass. And it’s a real treat to finally hear the bass lines on the tracks from ‘…And Justice For All’ album.
How was the 3D, you ask? Fucking flawless. This might actually be my favourite 3D movie, ever. Not ever does the 3D feel gimmicky or even unnecessary. A lot of the scenes are dark, but the third dimension never seemed to falter. The immersion is tangible. The stage show is massive. Metallica really outdid themselves in the staging of the concert. Coffins, electric chair (with tesla coils), grave stones that rise from the ground and Our Lady Justice that the crew builds during the show. And then it blows up. Great stuff. My personal favourite was ‘One’ with insane pyros and lasers.
So the concert is brilliant. How does the side story with our unfortunate roadie Trip support the on-stage show? I’ll say it does the job well. It’s more of a prolonged music video than a coherent story. And as it is, I love it. Dane DeHaan carries his role as Trip well and it’s a joy to adventure with him during the chaos in the city. There’s few standout moments, like the car crash, the hanged corpses and Trip’s awesome hard ass moment where he sets himself on fire and fights an angry mob. Yes, you read that right, HE POURS GASOLINE ON HIMSELF AND SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE. Now that’s bad ass. His final confrontation with The Horseman (wasn’t there four of them?) is, for the lack of a better word, Heavy Metal.
Yes, there’s few nitpicks. Cyanide isn’t a great song and it doesn’t blend well with the classics. Trip’s story doesn’t always mix well to the song playing on the stage. But who cares when the visuals and the music are so strong. The story might not be airtight, but the emotion is.
Nimród Antal has made his masterpiece. His direction, on stage and off it, is determined and focused. The editing is tempered and the geography of the stage show is always clear.
This is the best cinema experiences of the year. If you’re a fan of the band, do yourself a favor and check this out. If not, I don’t want to know you, honestly.
Best scene: ‘One’.
Most memorable bit: The band in a small circle playing ‘Orion’ during the end credits. That somehow felt like an appropriate tribute to the spirit of Cliff Burton (Metallica’s bass player who sadly deceased in 1986). Actually that’s my theory what was in the bag: Cliff Burton’s spirit what the band needs with them while touring.