A magnificent documentary!
Metallica is (or at least has been) arguably the most popular heavy metal band in the world. This is no small statement, they are the Beatles of their genre. The perception of their genre has always been reckless rebellion. And so, when the kings of reckless rebellion sit down with a counselor/therapist to work out their touchy feely problems -- well, who in the world would not want to listen in on those sessions?
In my college days I played in a rock band, I've always said (and I think others would concur) a band is like a girlfriend. It is a serious relationship, and no doubt for Metallica (together since 1981), quite like a marriage. So it makes sense to get help when that relationship is becoming dysfunctional.
I don't think you have to like Metallica or even heavy metal (or even music) to enjoy this film. But if you do, it'll probably be all the more impressive. I'm eclectic in my musical tastes and though I'm not a Metallica head-banging fan, I have a great deal of respect for them based on the amount of my friends who love their music and because their "Unforgiven" is a gorgeous piece of music.
Admittedly, I was surprised to see how sharp, verbal, sensitive, and committed these guys can be. These talented, very interesting, fellows try their best to express their vulnerabilities without selling themselves short. This plays out with great drama, passion and feeling. Couple that with the intrinsic value of their popularity, and curiously delicious contrast with their genre and you've got first rate material for a documentary.
But let me go further and say the filmmakers deserve kudos for capturing and including so many magical, powerful moments of truth and vulnerability, then editing them tastefully and solidly.
Surprisingly, the documentary goes long, including a segment on recruiting a new bass player. This segment is a little out of place and not entirely necessary, but strong on its own anyway. Though perhaps mildly compromising the central focus, I'm glad they included it.
I talked about this piece (to whoever would listen) for seven days after I saw it.