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Originally published Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 12:10 AM

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‘Metallica Through the Never’: Narrative dims megawatt show

A review of “Metallica Through the Never,” which is part live concert, shot over several days during the Canadian leg of the band’s 2012 tour, and part knucklehead fantasy, about a roadie sent out on a mysterious assignment.

San Francisco Chronicle

Movie Review 2 stars

‘Metallica Through the Never,’ a concert film directed by Nimród Antal. 92 minutes. Rated R for some violent content and language. Several theaters.

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As a purely kinetic experience, it’s hard to beat “Metallica Through the Never.” The film plunks the audience squarely onstage for a jet-fueled concert by the heavy-metal kings, and it’s shown in IMAX 3D to boot.

The performance footage was shot over several nights during the Canadian leg of the band’s 2012 tour. The show was a megawatt spectacle, with the guys presenting maximum-energy versions of songs from throughout their three-decade career, including “Master of Puppets,” “Enter Sandman” and “Hit the Lights.”

Part of the show is designed to suggest that some catastrophe is taking place outside the arena and disrupting the onstage activities.

The fantasy sequences star Dane DeHaan ("The Place Beyond the Pines") as a roadie named Trip who just wants to watch the show but is sent out on a mysterious assignment. He wanders deserted city streets full of riot cops, rebellious youngsters and mass executions, and is chased by a death-dealing figure on horseback. All this may or may not be related to the catastrophe that threatens the show.

This sort-of narrative is probably meant by director Nimród Antal ("Predators") to provide breaks from the high-intensity performance segments, but it’s knucklehead stuff, even in the metal context.

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