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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Metallica: Through the Never is a kind of hybrid concert movie/horror movie. The legendary heavy metal band plays several songs in front of a live audience, although several elements of the concert have been staged specifically for the cameras. Meanwhile, a roadie is sent on a mysterious errand into the city at night. Fighting, dead bodies, a car crash, blood, and a person on fire are shown, as well as additional violence and destruction. Language includes a clear use of "motherf---er" and "bitch," and Metallica's song lyrics have some language and violent images as well (though in these loud, live versions, the lyrics are frequently hard to hear clearly). The concert itself also features some disturbing images, such as video coffins with images of people struggling and screaming inside. The movie is very loud and inarguably for mature fans only, though those fans are very likely to enjoy this creative, visceral experience.
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What's the story?
As the legendary heavy metal band Metallica gears up for its latest show, roadie Trip (Dane DeHaan) reports for work. As the band starts playing and Trip enjoys the show, he's tapped to go on an important errand: He needs to bring a can of gas to a truck somewhere in the city and then retrieve "something the band needs tonight" from the back of the truck. Unfortunately, the unnamed city is unusually quiet, with ominous signs everywhere. As Trip ventures deeper into the urban labyrinth, things get spookier and increasingly deadly. Meanwhile, back at the concert, strange accidents start happening on stage. Can Trip complete his task and save the day?
Is it any good?
This movie's genuinely unsettling, and Metallica's intense, adrenaline-fueled music makes the horror sequences all the more atmospheric and supercharged. The chills still come at the expected prickly pace of a normal thriller, but the songs seems to heighten everything to a fever pitch. And when things slowly turn from realistic to dark fantasy, the music helps the transition. The concert itself is terrific, highlighting classics from the band's best albums and containing its own story arc. Fans will love it, though newbies are less likely to be engrossed.
The members of Metallica -- James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo -- hired director Nimrod Antal (a U.S. native of Hungarian descent), and all five worked in collaboration on the screenplay for METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER. The dark elements in Metallica's lyrics, combined with Antal's touch for tense, moody locations and predator-prey situations (Kontroll, Vacancy, Armored, and Predators) make for a surprisingly spooky concert experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Families can talk about the dark, violent images in Metallica's lyrics. Why does the band seem so angry? What do you think they want their music to inspire?
- What do you suppose is the thing that "the band needs tonight"? Why doesn't Metallica: Through the Never tell us what it is?
- Who is the Trip character, exactly? Does he seem like a role model? Does he represent some kind of symbol? (Courage?) Would you want his job, working for the band?
- Is this movie more or less interesting than a regular concert movie? Why?
- Could the members of Metallica be considered accomplished musicians? Are they role models?
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