The worlds most successful heavy metal band is in crisis. The bassist has resigned, the lead singers battling alcohol, the drummers 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 1991s 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, theres 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 Newsteds departure, singer Hetfields unannounced 11-month sojourn into rehab, the PR disaster of drummer Ulrichs war with Napster
Frankly, the band doesnt come off well. Hetfields a control freak, Ulrichs a hypocrite and guitarist Hammett is pathetically non-confrontational. Yet the doc isnt 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 groups rock godhood is maintained.