Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
by Lando da Pimp
Some Kind of Monster was initially a record label-financed project to help promote Metallica's St. Anger. The film became more than just a promotional film, it documented a three-year day-in-the-life-of Metallica from the departure of Jason Newstead, to James Hetfield's rehab, to the introduction of the new bassist Robert Trujillo. Filled with the distress and rage that comes with a band developing a new album on the brink of collapse. The end result is the most personal look at a band struggling to keep the band together. At times it is almost too personal.
The film begins with the news of Jason Newstead sudden exit from the band fourteen years after replacing the original bassist Cliff Burton. This puts the band on the downward spiral searching for a way to stay together and get along. The writing of the album became so stressful that Metallica spent forty thousand dollars a month on a full time group sessions with the therapist Phil Towle. The three remaining members have numerous issues with each other making it difficult to be creative. St. Anger was Metallica's first album in which all the members of Metallica had input on the songs including the lyrics (which would explain some of the bad lyrics). With straining relationships, Hetfield unexpectedly checks himself into rehab, bringing the recording of St. Anger to an abrupt halt for over a year.
Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett, along with long-time producer and friend Bob Rock, put their lives on hold to find out whether Hetfield will ever return to Metallica. During this down time the film makers Berlinger and Sinofsky fill the Hetfield void with intercuts of concert clips and archive documentary material of the bands history. This includes a weepy therapy session with Lars and Dave Mustaine, the former guitarist and founder of the heavy metal band Megadeth. What is missing from the film is a more in depth look at the battle with Napster. The movie showcases the Napster situation but doesn't really feature it like is should.
The year 2002 features the return of Hetfield and the start up of recording production of St. Anger. As the band mends their wounds, the filmmakers focus on the bands day-to-day routines, including the hilariously scene of Hetfield attending his daughter’s ballet class. We also get moments of Lars with his son playing drums.
The film concludes with the finishing of the album just in time for the MTV ICON show. The band must then finally search for Newstead's replacement. This is the most interesting part of the film. Metallica brings in a number of famous band members including Twiggy from Marilyn Manson, Pepper Kennan from COC, and the Robert Trujillo who ultimately got the job.
Eventually the film focuses its attention away from the infighting and therapy sessions with the realization of the enjoyment of performing and interacting with their fans. At a long 2 hours and 20 minutes the film gives us a very personal look at Metallica. Unfortunately I find it too personal. I felt like I was intruding on their personal lives. It's a film of reality. I don't want to see Metallica in therapy. I don't want to see Metallica argue with each other. This is Metallica, the greatest heavy metal band in history! However I have taken something away from this film, a greater appreciation of the album, St. Anger. Metallica has real passion for their music. I believe this is what Metallica hoped would be the ultimate result.
Some Kind of Monster is now available on DVD from Amazon.com. Included are 10 hours of bonus material, with two commentary tracks, 40 deleted scenes, interviews, a music video, and some additional footage.
This review is ©2005 MillionairePlayboy.com