Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

Cert 15

It's impossible to watch this entertaining study of über-metal rockers Metallica without thinking of a certain documentary-or-if-you-will-rockumentary, and it's difficult to tell if directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky wish to acknowledge its influence or not. Presumably to do so would risk undermining the project's seriousness. Sometimes their movie is priceless enough to be pure Spinal Tap - especially when drummer Lars Ulrich introduces his bearded, weird-eyed old dad.

Yet for a movie ostensibly about therapy, it is notably uncritical and incurious about its principal players. We begin in 2001: Metallica are in crisis. Bassist Jason Newsted has quit the band: the original bassist Cliff Burton died in 1986 in a bus accident while on tour in Sweden. (Tap fans can relate.) Lead singer James Hetfield is wrestling with his demons and his addictions. The band hire a therapist to help them work through their problems with the cameras rolling, yielding some great scenes.

But so many questions are unanswered: how do they feel about poor Cliff Burton? How do they feel about each other, after 20 years? How does Ulrich feel about attacking the free-download website Napster and being hated by the fans? These questions are never fully explored. This started life as a promo-video for the new album and in its celebratory tone actually doesn't stray far from its origins. There are nonetheless laughs and shrewd insights among the crashing power chords and flailing hair.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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