From Publishers Weekly
In 2001, the hugely successful hard-rock/heavy metal band Metallica got together in a converted army bunker in San Francisco to record its first collection of new songs in years. Raw from the departure of their bass player yet determined to write and record together, the rock stars began group therapy with Phil Towle, a gentle-voiced therapist (or "performance-enhancement coach"). Far from hiding this image-smashing move, however, the band allowed acclaimed documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky to film, well, whatever. Even after Metallica lead singer James Hetfield slammed the therapy and left the recording studio, the creators of the brilliant documentaries Brother's Keeper
and Paradise Lost
were allowed to keep filming. What emerged two years later was a rock documentary, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
, that is arguably as defining a portrait of the values and conflicts of our times as Gimme Shelter
is of its time. In an absorbing narrative, Berlinger (with rock journalist Milner) describes just what it took—the myriad decisions and risks—to turn nearly 1,600 hours of footage into a story that delivers an emotional impact that is all the greater for being true. This book should be required reading for aspiring filmmakers because it reveals the huge difference between turning the cameras on a contrived situation that purports to be "reality" and making a cinema verité or nonfiction film. Berlinger shows that capturing truth is both art and science, and that the best efforts require that the filmmakers risk as much as their subjects. 75 b&w photos.
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"Takes on the momentum of a suspense novel, and triumphs because of the commitment and fearlessness of Metallica…This Monster Lives shows that tenacious reporting can still produce great narratives, even about the most mega of megaplatinum stars."
---New York Times
"Berlinger takes us even deeper into the inner sanctum. One of the book's bonuses: many events that were edited for the film, including a pivotal scene in which drummer Lars Ulrich laces into singer James Hetfield, are transcribed in full."
"A fascinating look at the logistics of making an album and the dysfunctional family that bands can become."
"Berlinger truly puts the meta in Metallica. Loads of deleted scenes and a metal-friendly theme (everyone has a monster to slay) are riffs we can all bang our heads to."