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Metallica - Some Kind Of Monster - Documentary

=Staff's pick

Director: Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky

Genre Documentary
Tracks --
Runningtime 120 Min.
Label Mercury Records
Release 02 July 2001
Country USA
Similar artists ---

The sneak preview in Gothenburg of the documentary about Metallica called Some Kind Of Monster was conveniently placed the day before their concert at Ullevi stadium. And I cant think of a better way to get ready for their concert the day after then to go to the movies and watch the life of Metallica for two hours. When I left the cinema I was really excited and wanted to go straight to the concert.

Filmmakers Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky have followed Metallica for three years and that ended in a documentary about the band and the struggles that they had, both personal as well as within the band. The filmmakers have closely followed the band and most of the movie takes place at their therapy sessions and in the studio when they recorded their latest album St. Anger. An album that has received different receptions and I must say that I appreciate it a bit more after seeing what went on behind the curtains, even if the music itself doesn't gets better, it is easier to listen to it with glimpses of the documentary flashing before the eyes from the memory of it. As with the story behind the lyrics to the track Sweet Amber, I wont give it away here but it tore down some laughter when the inspiration to the lyrics was revealed. We also get to see some parts of the members life outside Metallica even though it mostly evolves around the recordings.

The filmmakers

Much of the time is taken by the clash of the two giant egos in the band, and that is James Hatfield and Lars Ulrich, not as in the sense of being egocentric but more that the two of them has a really strong will on how things are too be done within Metallica. While the feeling you get from Kirk is that he is the sensitive guy that lets the other beat their heads bloody while he is calm and waiting them out so he can play his guitar, that seems to be the thing that matters the most to him. He has his views and inputs on things but he is not as stubborn as the other two and has a more laid back attitude.

It was surprising to see the major involvement of producer Bob Rock in the making of St. Anger, as he was more of a member in the band than simply just the producer. He was also present with the other members at the sessions with the therapist Phil Towle. You come to understand that the problems in the band was bigger than what I had realised, as the therapy didn't end with the sessions. Phil Towle also spend very much time with the band in the studio as well, both at the recordings and the creative meetings they had.

Metallica with therapist Phil Towle

The documentary also includs comments from the past members Jason Newsted and Dave Mustaine. With Jason both his and James Hatfield's version on his departure was given, and you could feel that there was tension between the guys. Mostly shown when Lars, Kirk and Bob Rock went to a concert with Echobrain and when they went backstage after the concert to talk with Jason he had already left. The confrontation at the therapist between Dave Mustaine and Ulrich was a touching moment in the film when Dave explained how bad he has felt since he was sacked out of the band in the early days of Metallica and you could see the guilt in the face of Ulrich.

The recordings of St. Anger didn't run problem free at an beginning, and that James without further notice disappear into a rehabilitation facility the future of Metallica was uncertain. But nine months later James came out from rehab and now he was only allowed to work between noon and four p.m.. And that frustrated Lars and he other guys as James didn't want them to work in the studio after he had left for the day. One comment that brought laughter with the audience was when James explained that he felt like they were doing things behind his back and he didn't feel like he was involved in everything that went on when he had left for the day, that's when Kirk said: James, that is how I've felt the last fifteen years.

Rob Trujillo, that probably will be called the second new guy for about twenty year or so doesn't appear that much in this film. It isn't until the later half of the documentary that we get a small look of the auditions for a new bassplayer. Several well know named tried out for the postion as bassplayer in one of the worlds biggest bands but the job went to Rob. And as the new member in the band and just to get him started and to feel welcome in his new family he got one million dollars, nice to see his response to that warm welcome.

Some Kind Of Monster is not a film about the music of Metallica so don't expect a lot of music in it, it is a film about a band struggling with inner conflicts and it is much of talking as well as it is studio footage. The movie should be able to attract more than the die hard Metallica fans, although I think it helps if you are familiar with the band and their music. As far as I was able to judge the documentary didn't seem to be censured, all things expected where there as anger, frustration, emotion and joy and even personal stuff so I guess everything that was of interest ended up in the final production, at least I hope so.

I found Some Kind Of Monster to be a really interesting and touching film. It is great work from the makers who have made a warm film that has its serious moments as well as it brings out a few laughs. I can easily recommend this film to almost everyone, but if you like me has an interest in more than just the music on the albums this film is not to be missed. If you've decided to only go to the movies once this year, Some Kind Of Monster should be your choice.






8 chalices of 10 - Thomas

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