Metallica Through the Never

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Metallica Through the Never
Metallica Through the Never film.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Nimród Antal
Produced by Charlotte Huggins
Written by
  • Dane DeHaan
  • James Hetfield
  • Lars Ulrich
  • Kirk Hammett
  • Robert Trujillo
Music by Metallica
Cinematography Gyula Pados
Edited by Joe Hutshing
Blackened Recordings
Distributed by Picturehouse
Release dates
  • September 9, 2013 (2013-09-09) (TIFF)
  • September 27, 2013 (2013-09-27) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million[2]
Box office $21,196,967[2][3]

Metallica Through the Never is a 2013 American IMAX thriller concert film featuring the American heavy metal band Metallica. The film title is derived from the song "Through the Never" off the self-titled 1991 album; the feature follows young Trip's (Dane DeHaan) surreal misadventures on what is supposedly a routine task intercut with concert footage in Vancouver and Edmonton, August 2012 with the unique premise of no dialogue in the film's entirety with the exception of Trip's supervisor. The feature was released by the revived Picturehouse marquee, ceased since 2008.


Opening with aerial footage of Vancouver and BC Place stadium with a radio DJ announcing Metallica's one-night-only concert, a heavy-metal fan drives into the empty parking lot and climbs on the hood, whooping and laughing, but has difficulty due to his excessive weight, while the film's protagonist, Trip (Dane DeHaan) skates past the fan but wipes out. Trip is a roadie for Metallica. Skating into the underground parking, he gets a brown paper bag of something unknown from a beatup van and, venturing into the dressing room halls, encounters each of the band members. Giving the bag to his supervisor, Trip is told to "stick around." Standing in the main stadium arena, he then walks at a typical pace with the audience filing in at time lapse to Ecstasy of Gold.

Metallica appears on stage and begins performing, and during Creeping Death, Trip's manager tasks him with bringing gas to a stranded truck carrying "something very important." Before driving his van, Trip pops a mysterious pill.

As Trip drives through the deserted streets, Metallica-esque flames on flat surfaces of the city scape either allude to the pill's effects or supernatural energy. Distracted by studying his map, Trip runs a red light but brakes in the intersection's middle when he noticed a bloody hand smear on an illuminated sign and is t-boned by a lone driver. The van is subsequently flipped.

Crawling out of the van, Trip peers into the other car and, hearing radio reports of what's to come, calls to the unresponsive driver, who is standing with his back to Trip. The driver only briefly looks at Trip and start running past him, down the street. Trip retrieves only the gas tank, a map, and a doll of unknown importance with a string around its neck, while electricity crackles in the van from an unrevealed source. Trip wanders down a street and a Police horse is dragging its rider across his path. Then some people run past him, oblivious to him, while some police cruisers speed past him, with one ablaze. Emerging into the middle of a street, he realizes he has come between rioters and riot police, who are motionless. Gradually, the rioters start getting rowdier and more provocative, and when the police fire tear gas, the rioters swarm the police, in a full-on battle. Trip, stunned by the ferocity of the violence, stands by a window being strangely ignored. Surprisingly, the window shatters behind Trip.

In the heat of battle, a horseman (listed in the credits as The Rider) wearing a gas mask comes charging through, wielding a sledgehammer atop an armored horse. He pursues a rioter, lassoing his neck and hoisting the victim on a streetlamp. It is not formally indicated for which side The Rider fights. Despite this, Trip throws a brick at The Rider. This fixates The Rider on Trip, and he starts to pursue Trip, who loses the doll. Trip evades The Rider by sneaking through a wall of rioters.

Walking down a deserted street that is littered from an earlier battle, Trip walks under a dozen hanging bodies from a pedestrian bridge; it is unrevealed as to how they got there. Trip finds the truck he was tasked to give fuel to in a deserted parking garage corridor, but the driver, a middle aged man, is too traumatized in the cab to heed the presence of Trip. The back of the truck is opened with nothing but a leather bag which Trip opens, but the camera pans away. Trip just slumps down, speechless.

Sitting around, Trip notices a figure waving at him from a distance. The Rider rides up behind the man, and suddenly a swarm of mobbers surge past the two. It is left unstated if they are the pre-encountered rioters or The Rider's minions (assuming The Rider is a supernatural entity). Trip then grabs the bag and tank of gas, jumps out of the truck, and flees.

Unable to shake off the pack of mobbers, Trip is cornered at the end of an alley with the mobbers closing on him. For an unexplained reason, Trip ties a blue bandanna around his mouth, puts up his hoodie, and drops the bag. Picking up the gas tank, Trip pours the gas onto himself and sets himself ablaze, and then charges the mobbers, being beaten collectively.

Trip wakes on a building rooftop (with Enter Sandman starting), while the doll he lost has become animated and is walking to the leather bag. As Trip is getting up, a noose is lassoed on Trip, and he is pulled upon The Rider's horse. Trip grabs The Rider's hammer to free himself. The Rider rides to the opposite end of the rooftop and starts to charge Trip, who picks up the hammer and slams the floor with it, sending unexplained earthquake-style shock waves across the city, shattering all the glass and structural exteriors of surrounding buildings and disintegrating The Rider and his steed to dust. This also has the effect of reverberating throughout Metallica's concert, interrupting it with a blackout of power. The concert staff eventually hook up a back-up generator, and the band continues the concert without the pyrotechnics and light props.

Trip arrives back at the stadium with the doll and the bag under his arm, finding the arena deserted with the concert either over or yet to start. During the credits, intercut scenes of the band performing Orion play to the deserted stadium. When Trip walks through the venue and takes a seat wearing his same clothes, the ending shot is the leather bag, which is never opened.



The band made a surprise appearance in Detroit at the Orion Music + More Festival under the name Dehaan, after lead actor Dane DeHaan, to promote the film by playing their debut album, Kill 'Em All, in its entirety.[4]

Through the Never made its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[5]

The film was released in IMAX theaters across the United States on September 27, 2013,[6] the 27th anniversary of former Metallica bassist Cliff Burton's death, before being rolled out to normal cinemas in 3D the week after (October 4).


Reviews of the film were positive. The film has a 78% "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes; the consensus states: "Imaginatively shot and edited, Metallica Through the Never is an electrifying, immersive concert film, though its fictional sequences are slightly less assured."[7]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called the film "a full-throttle expression of rock & roll anarchy", and encouraged readers not to understand the plot, but to "live" it.[8]

Peter Rugg of The Village Voice writes that the film is "the most immersive concert film ever."[9]

Chris Tilly of IGN delivered a positive review as well, stating that it "features several truly incredible live performances that are worth the price of admission alone. Metallica fans will love the music, while everyone else can enjoy the amazing visuals in this unique concert movie."[10]


The official soundtrack for Through the Never was released on September 24, 2013 via Blackened Recordings.[11] The album has charted in several countries.


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