> Volume 6 > Number 26


Joe Berlinger
Bruce Sinofsky

Lars Ulrich
James Hetfield
Kirk Hammett
Bob Rock
Phil Towle
Jason Newsted
Dave Mustaine
Robert Trujillo

Release: 9 Jul. 04

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster


Having used their music for Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were able to get full access to Metallica as the band prepared for their latest album, St. Anger. It seems like a perfect opportunity to get the documentary of a lifetime, especially as the group goes through constant set backs, including replacing its bassist and the drug rehabilitation for its lead guitarist. But Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, like the album it documents, is a mixed bag, often overshadowing its moments of incite with inanities.

What they do succeed at even in their worst moments, is to humanize the band. Not knowing their work terribly well, I felt a bond with many of the musicians as the film continued. Although heís been villianized by many former fans for his outspoken opposition to Napster, drummer Lars Ulrich brings an especially satisfying personality to the film. His boyish looks seem to contrast his outbursts, and his attempts to philosophize over the bands evident self-destruction are especially engaging. Even when heís worried over the sale of his Basquiat, an action that might seem ridiculous to those who wouldnít fork over $50 for a good Basquiat print, his own personality rings true, and the his own love for the painting comes across as sincere. But heís willing to admit that the dark paintings represent the cynicism of his past 10 years, not the hope for this father of two.

The depth with which Berlinger and Sinofsky attain isnít particularly comparable to what the band members offer. Even when they venture into the bandís problems, the directors choose to oversimplify them: their news excerpts are mostly from MTV News, and not even Kurt Loder, but Sway and Gideon Yagoís low-on-the-totem-poll reporting. They are clearly walking ground they barely know -- the rock documentary -- and it shows. Even though their band, whose artistic merits Iíve often questioned, seem more than game, the two men want more than anything to treat it like a great exposť. Thereís nothing new to Metallica found in Some Kind of Monster, just the recognition that behind the cacophony of sounds are real men with real issues too heavy for MTV to care about

©2004, David Perry,, 25 June 2004