Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

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The world’s most successful heavy metal band is in crisis. The bassist has resigned, the lead singer’s battling alcohol, the drummer’s despised by the fans and, amid bitter in-fighting, they reconvene for a new album...


The captivating sight of Madonna slobbishly supping soup while chatting subserviently to her father in 1991’s warts ’n’ all documentary In Bed With Madonna showed that, despite elevating celebrities to godlike status, we have rapacious curiosity for their apparent normality. Well, In Bed With... seems transparently stage-managed compared to this bullshit-free glimpse of a world-class rock act facing implosion.

Ostensibly chronicling the making of the St. Anger album, there’s little music on hand. Instead, a fractured ‘family’ faces, via therapy, every embarrassing detail in order to rebuild itself, while this group of middle-aged men struggle to maintain their firebrand ideologies.

We witness bassist Jason Newsted’s departure, singer Hetfield’s unannounced 11-month sojourn into rehab, the PR disaster of drummer Ulrich’s war with Napster…

Frankly, the band doesn’t come off well. Hetfield’s a control freak, Ulrich’s a hypocrite and guitarist Hammett is pathetically non-confrontational. Yet the doc isn’t a hatchet job, rather encouraging sympathy by capturing plenty of heart-breaking sadness.

An excruciating watch at times, the unflinching bluntness is captivating and somehow, despite their flaws, the group’s rock godhood is maintained.