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Trip (Dane DeHaan), a young roadie for heavy metal group Metallica, is sent on an urgent mission during the band's show. But what seems like a simple assignment turns into a surreal adventure.

Review by Louise Keller:
Solely for hardcore Metallica fans, this 3D spectacular, immersive thrash metal music experience combines its wailing guitars, rasping vocals, pounding rhythms with an explosive theatrical display of laser lights, interspersed eclectic imagery depicting violence and angst and a narrative construct to punctuate its attitude.

The concept of staging a concert on a specially built stage utilising the 360 degrees of its surround, using props and set pieces from previous shows and splicing a narrative through its emotional heart is risky and ambitious, in that the action experienced by the unnamed roadie (Dane DeHaan) in his unspecified task is mirrored onstage and incorporated into the fabric of the film.

Orchestrating up to 24 cameras simultaneously, Hungarian raised director Nimród Antal (Kontroll, 2003) commendably never wavers in his vision, although for many (me included), the experience is repetitive, tedious and frustrating. The film begins and ends with an empty stage. What happens in between is a rock metal fest of aggression.

Part of my frustration is the incomprehensible nature of the lyrics within their non-melodic structures. To quote Metallica's hit Nothing Else Matters, this issue did not seem to matter one iota to the thousands of fans in the auditorium, who mouthed the words to all the songs, waved their hands and arms as they showed their resounding approval to the proceedings.

There is no question that there are plenty of Metallica fans who will revel in this state of the art theatrical presentation. The band has sold over 110 million albums worldwide and generated $86.1 million in ticket sales from just 30 shows in 2012 alone. The band comprising James Hetfield (vocals, guitar), Lars Ulrich (drums), Kirk Hammett (guitar, background vocals) and Robert Trujillo (bass, background vocals look the part, dressed in black leather, tats, open shirt, long perspiration-soaked hair, as they use nimble fingers on the fret-boards and belt out the music with high energy.

The underlit floor tiles change from white to red and again to as zigzags flash. There are fire balls, a laser light show, imagery of soldiers and tanks on split scenes. Giant crosses ominously rise from the stage floor as though manipulated by invisible vampires while clouds of dry ice billow. A gigantic statue of Lady Justice is constructed and demolished before our eyes. A sequence involving suspended coffins is striking to say the least.

DeHaan (Lawless), with his Leo DiCaprio-esque features has a haunting presence and his facial expressions are effectively portrayed in tight close up as he ventures through the deserted streets as part of his precarious mission. However, the success or lack thereof of the narrative structure interwoven through the concert will be assessed by the individual. There is a car crash, a man is torched, dragged by a horse and the batons of the riot police pound in time with the relentless tempo. The fact that we never find out what is the all-important mission that he set out to achieve is the ultimate disappointment.

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(US, 2013)

CAST: Dane DeHaan, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo, Kyle Thomson, Toby Hargrave, Mackenzie Gray, Peter Bryant

PRODUCER: Charlotte Huggins

DIRECTOR: Nimród Antal

SCRIPT: Nimród Antal, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo


EDITOR: Joe Hutshing

MUSIC: Metallica


RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 10, 2013

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