There’s a disturbing trend going on with Hollywood right now. Endings that are open to interpretation. After seeing another one at the end of Prisoners I decided enough was enough. I needed to watch a movie where there was no chance of a non-definitive ending. And then, my roommate asked if I wanted to see the Metallica movie. The Metallica movie? That weird one where I can’t figure out what it’s about? Sure.
Let me start off by saying that I am not a die hard Metallica fan. I like the singles, I think Hetfield looks better with short hair, and I don’t think they sold out with the black album. Since the band’s current lineup solidified in 2003, fans have largely been negative towards their work (With the exception of Death Magnetic), especially their ATROCIOUS album with Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed. With that being said, I like and respect them enough to spend $17.50 to go see them in IMAX 3D. I assumed it wouldn’t be possible to think any less of Metallica after viewing 2004’s Some Kind Of Monster documentary, but shit happens. I first became worried when I realized the movie was directed by a man actually named Nimrod (2010’s shitty Predator sequel).
In case you were wondering, Through The Never is one of the six songs you’ve never heard of on the black album. Through The Never is also one of the TEN songs from one of the HIGHEST SELLING RECORDS OF ALL TIME to not appear in the film (I’m not counting Wherever I May Roam because they only played the intro to it). It’s essentially about 60% concert film and 40% music video, which sounds cool except that there’s not exactly a plot, per se. To sum up Through The Never, at one point there’s a random frame inserted of Lars apparently anally raping a man in a gas mask like it was a shot of Tyler Durden’s dong.
Like most things Metallica, the film opens with an overweight man in black clothes two sizes too small shouting to no one. It then focuses on our protagonist Trip, played by Dane Dehaan (Chronicle), a skateboarding gofer working for the band. He enters the arena to discover that James Hetfield is fucking pimp, Robert Trujillo is the world’s coolest cave man with his bass sagging almost as low as his shorts, Kirk Hammett is metal’s most effeminate drug mule, and that Lars Uhlrich looks like a sweaty Senator Kelly from the end of X-Men if Magneto had given him the mutant power to not look likeable or interesting. Lars wouldn’t look cool if he were the drummer for Metallica.
To give you an idea of the film’s set up, the gofer is sent out because a truck has run out of gas containing something, “that the band needs” while the song Fuel plays. He roams while the intro to Wherever I May Roam plays, etc… So Trip takes a happy pill and starts driving (And hallucinating). His van is hit by another car, flipping it over in 3D glory. Then, despite the fact that the wreck literally occurs outside the hospital, he picks up the weird doll from his rear view mirror and decides to keep searching for the truck on foot.
Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice (For All), like the band itself, the stage equipment is falling apart throughout the concert (A microphone goes out, a lighting rig malfunctions). I *think* this is supposed to coincide with what’s occurring elsewhere in the city but they do a poor job of showing that the two are related. Back on the streets, Trip happens upon a West Side story like face off between an army of cops in riot gear and a large mob (Presumably they had just listened to St. Anger) led by a post-apocalyptic, war hammer wielding, barbarian riding a horse. The gofer, instead of running away, throws a rock and hits the horseman… THEN runs away. When he finally reaches the truck, it’s revealed that not only has the truck run out of gas but the driver is paralyzed with… I’m going to say scorpion venom (Cause it sounds METAAAAAAAL!!!). He opens the back of the truck to reveal that it’s empty save for a mysterious leather satchel presumably containing Dave Mustaine’s balls. The horseman appears with his Warriors/Escape From New York gang and they begin chasing him (Presumably thinking the bag is full of money to reimburse them for St. Anger). Even though he is running for his life, he still carries the gas can that is now useless as he is not using it to refuel the truck.
The gang ends up cornering him in an alley, beating the horseman because he is on horseback… which naturally makes him slower(?). With no other options, the boy takes a gasoline shower, bravely sets himself ablaze, and rushes the gang. Practicing good fire safety, the gang hits him with their baseball bats until they put the flames out. He then wakes up on top of a parking garage as Enter Sandman starts playing implying it was all a dream (I think?). Then the movie turns into a TOOL video as his rearview mirror doll comes alive, but the doll is captured by the EVIIIIIIL horseman!
He defeats the horseman which causes most of the concert stage, and the city, to explode and collapse. One roadie is electrocuted and another is set on fire. Hetfield, having been burned by pyrotechnics before , begins immediately shouting to stop the concert. Being a battlefield triage expert, Dr. Hetfield quickly pronounces the two seriously wounded crew members, who are being taken off the stage on backboards, will be OK. The show must go on. Trip finally arrives back at a now empty arena to discover he has missed the entire concert so he walks on stage and drops the bag and… the movie ends.
During the credits, Metallica walks out and performs an obscure instrumental song off Master of Puppets instead of the 9 songs you WANTED them to play in the concert and the film ends with the camera closing in on the enigmatic ball bag without revealing its’ contents. So even the Metallica movie has an ending that is OPEN TO FUCKING INTERPRETATION! Even Se7en told you what was in the fucking box!
In conclusion, Through The Never is a great film to go see if you like Metallica but hate Metallica fans and want to see them without getting sweat and hepatitis on you. They play most of the hits (Despite a couple of GLARING exceptions) and the stage show they do is top notch (The intro to One in particular being one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen at a concert). However, the whole kid-trying-to-get-our-bag-back part is just silly and lame. It was a bold experiment, but ultimately a failure (Except that with a budget of only $18 million it’s probably going to make a SHIT LOAD of money). Therein lies the problem though. With a budget like that you could’ve shelled out a couple grand and actually had a decent screenwriter write something like that for you. Besides Bob Rock (And possibly Rick Rubin), who is left in Metallica’s lives that tells them no? No, that’s not a good idea. No, that sounds stupid. No, you can’t have any ice cream unless you eat your dinner. Unfortunately, Through The Never is possibly the final nail in the coffin that Metallica has become what they feared most… KISS. You know it’s sad but true.
Maybe the bag contains the space talismans that give Metallica their powers?
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