"Don't you know that she's... she's some kind of monster!" Seriously though, getting back to the opposite side of music, in terms of manliness, let us discuss this tell-all tale of a band of brothers who nearly destroyed each other, and in the process, just killed music instead. Oh wait, that's Nirvana; Metallica wasn't really all that bad, though they had so many fall-flat songs, it's unreal. Hey at the end of the day, they remain hit-or-miss, but mostly, well, not miss, more like horrible, and by extension, about as good as heavy metal is gonna get. So yeah, in case you can't tell, I'm more of an old school rocker (Don't worry, I'm before that lame "She's Some Kind of Wonderful" song), though I know music talent when I see it, and it's been on the decline since the '80s. Still, there were still plenty of people who showed up in the '80s who were still kicking things right, and among that crowd of talent was... well, certainly not Metallica. No, they had their high points, yet on plenty of occasions that grew more and more prevalent over the years (Wow, even metal was decent at a time; that's how bad music got), their music, much like the band's relationship and this uninspired opener (Clearly not a big enough fan of Metallica to care), got pretty bumpy, and in that regard, alone, this documentary stays pretty faithful, as it too is bumpy.
The central focus of this documentary is a study on how the band's lives and work have changed over the years, and how that serves detrimental to their relationship and career, and for long periods throughout this film, that is hardly palpable. The film's focus isn't all over the place, yet it does get to be unenven, with so much time spent on pure filler at points - from the band members' personal lives to their working on music -, with little focus on the more human aspects within it, leaving a sense of intrigue to momentarily fall limp, and when conflict does fall back into play, it's often rather jarring. A big culprit behind these missteps appears to be the meditation limiting, spawned from, not necessarily hurried, but frenetic storytelling. The docuemtnary still has plenty of points of slow-down and meditation, yet even at its almost two-and-a-half hour runtime, it often dives fairly swiftly into its next point, or at least not when it's getting repetitive, with an almost inhumanly urgent tone, exacerbated by the relentlessness of the music, and something as intense as heavy metal music, at that. While the film does calm itself down here and there, much of it moves at such a constant and often repetitious tone, leaving it to lose steam and, on occasion, become disengaging. I was with the film for quite a while, but after that while, it all fell from grace and the position of upstanding, never to fully recover. However, as things stand, the film remains worth the sit, as the high points that it does hit are pretty high, thus creating a generally enjoyable documentary, and a competently-produced one, at that.
This film could be trimmed down ever so easily to maybe, say, a little over an hour-and-a-half, and it would be better for it, and I'm not just saying that because I was begging for the terrible music to just stop by the one hour mark, so that's a glaring fault in the editing. Other than that, the editing on the film is pretty clever, with smooth trimmings and transitions throughout to give the film a kind of gripping cinematic feel. This, of course, ameliorates the resonance and intrigue that Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky fail to keep consistent, yet deliver on enough for the film to engage more than it falls flat. The film's runtime is much too lengthy and its focus is much too uneven, yet completely falling out of the film is hard to do, for one the film gets a hold of you, while its grip loosens, it doesn't fully release you. As overlong as the scenes of comradery are, they are assembled and emphasized cleverly enough to where you do get a genuine sense of the band's friendship, and when things begin to unravel into tension among the bandmates, I found myself genuinely invested in these people whose craft I never even cared for. It's all so very interesting, seeing the humanity within these very brutal people, and seeing that vulnerability is quite engaging, even if it is an aspect that we've seen in many documentaries of this type. This documentary is neither terribly original nor terribly rewarding, yet is cleverly produced and directed, with a general sense of depth within these musicians, as humans, making it consistently fascinating.
Overall, this study is overlong and uneven, spending too much time focusing on other aspects outside of the central point, diluting the intrigue of conflict, something made worse by the film's unrelenting pacing and extreme repetition that leaves it to lose steam, little by little, yet never to where it fully releases you, as the film remains competently edited to where it gives the film a cinematic feel to intensify the general resonance and intrigue formed from the mostly insightful, fascinating storytelling that ultimately leave "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster" to stand as a somewhat conventional, yet ultimately engaging study on the more recent struggles in the lives, careers and relationships within one of the most recognizable bands in the heavy metal industry.
2.5/5 - Fair