Mission To Lars - Cinema Review

'It's hard to ignore something so beautifully heartfelt.'

The incredibly sweet-natured and personal Mission To Lars comes with a simple narrative sell: can journalist Kate Spicer and film-maker Will Spicer get their brother Tom, who suffers from Fragile X syndrome, across to America to meet hero Lars Ulrich?

Inherent in the Spicer's documentary - Will takes co-directing duties with James Moore - is a story of family values that is easy to relate to. Everyone watching it will have a member of the family, perhaps like Tom, whom they don't see very often or wish they could do something nice for. Mission To Lars is the embodiment of that wish's fulfilment as Kate and Will struggle to adapt to the technicalities of the task they have taken on and Tom's condition leaves him struggling to come to terms with it.

What plays out occasionally comes across as voyeuristic but never feels fake or full of false flattery. The practicalities of Fragile X are confronted and demonstrated on screen. For a film that has the dual stated aims of documenting a difficult travelogue and raising awareness and education about a little known condition, Mission To Lars succeeds without question.

Technically too, this is better than a family-made Indie has any right to be. The editing is coherent and sharp - the only mistake being not to show or film any of the flight to the US - and the lo-fi music that plays throughout nicely compliments the dichotomy of Tom and Metallica; a quiet and introverted man, obsessed with the surging noise of the world's foremost heavy metal outfit.

At the end, the heartfelt nature of the piece comes to the fore. Whilst Metallica play rambunctiously on stage, all eyes in the room glued to the main attraction, Kate is ignoring them, instead looking at Tom and smiling. It's hard to ignore something so beautifully heartfelt.

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