|'A bit like something out of James DeMonaco's The Purge franchise, although far more imaginative and therefore a lot more satisfying'.|
Director Nimród Antal, working from a script he co-wrote with the four current members of Metallica, presents an interesting and at times ambitious spin on the live concert film throughout Metallica: Through The Never. The results is something akin to watching two films at the same time, as Antal intertwines the band's performance with a story focused on Trip (Dane DeHaan), a roadie who's night becomes increasingly surreal as the film progresses.
It's this secondary narrative thread which emerges as Through The Never's relatively less successful segment. Trip's journey begins as a simple errand to bring fuel to a stranded concert vehicle, but escalates first into scenes of violence and then to something altogether more fantastical as he faces off against gas-mask-wearing foe The Rider (Kyle Thompson). It feels a bit like something out of James DeMonaco's The Purge franchise, although far more imaginative and therefore a lot more satisfying. The story is never fleshed out into anything of depth, and the way the events are connected make less and less sense as the film goes on. But, if you think of the scenes focused upon Trip as a series of music videos linked by the same character then there's a lot to like within this section, and DeHaan's presence elevates it further still.
More consistent is the footage of Metallica's live performance, which occupies the lion's share of the running time and which continually provides plenty of entertainment both audial and visual. If you're not already a Metallica fan, then there's little here that is likely to change your mind, although even the most ardent metal-hater would have to agree they put on a hell of a show. The current members of the band may now have a combined age of over 200, but they're still rocking out as vehemently as ever. This is one of the most cinematically filmed concerts you're likely to experience, with Antal displaying impressive camerawork and a keen eye for a memorable shot througout.
Whilst the parallel threads increasingly cross over as Through The Never heads towards its conclusion, with Trip's actions and experiences impacting on what's happening in the arena, it's an idea which you can't help but feel could have been taken a lot further than what's on offer. The conclusion of the narrative portion also feels a little anticlimactic considering the more extreme content which has preceded it. Taken as a whole, however, Antal's film offers a consistently entertaining package that regularly attempts to do something different within its genre and more often than not succeeds.