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Customer Review

on November 13, 2005
Very good documentary that will appeal to anyone with a keen interest in the inner workings of a rock band. Equal parts redemption story and kitchen-sink drama, "Metallica - Some Kind of Monster" is an honest but self-indulgent look into the private world of multi-millionaire rockers who, at the end of the day, simply cannot communicate their love and respect for each other, and the band they have made so famous.

Band leader James Hetfield, fresh out of rehab, constantly locks horns with "I-just-wanna-play-rock-n-roll" drummer Lars Ulrich, and spends most of his time fretting over his self-imposed 4-hour per day work schedule, and whether he even wants to be in the band anymore. Ulrich meanwhile fakes interest in Hetfield's mental recovery, the farcical "lyrics-by-committee" approach to the new record, and seems happiest when his multi-million dollar collection of modern art goes under the hammer for record prices. Guitarist Kirk Hammett equivocates on most of the key decisions and discussions, but comes off as a straightforward guy just wanting the best for his band and his buddies. All of which, much to Metallica's credit, is captured mercilessly by the camera crew. This includes the most bizarre aspect of the film, in which an ever present middle-aged Dr. Eugene Landy-type, hired by the band for $40k per month to help guide and mediate their feelings towards one another, presides over most of the discussion, and hilariously tries to ingratiate himself into the band in a creative capacity. He is clearly a chancer, despised by Ulrich in particular, and living on borrowed time. The scene, in which even Hetfield himself has had enough of this pseudo-guru, and tries to fire him, is perhaps the most uncomfortable in the whole film.

Coming off best are producer Bob Rock - clearly the voice of reason, and clearly the only person respected by all the band - who gently draws out of Metallica the record they want to make, and new bass player, Robert Trujillo, whose audition sparks the first genuine musical camaraderie in the whole documentary. His arrival seems the perfect denouement to the film as Hetfield and Ulrich's two-decade friendship is refreshed, and they begin to see new potential and meaning to playing in their band. Recommended.
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