Metallica Through the Never

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Metallica Through the Never
Metallica Through the Never film.jpg
A promotional poster for the film
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 $32 million[2][3]
Box office $21,196,967[4][5]

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 band's self-titled 1991 album. It follows a young roadie, Trip's (Dane DeHaan) surreal misadventures intercut with concert footage shot in Vancouver and Edmonton in August 2012. The film uses a unique premise of no dialogue or narration in the film's entirety with the exception of Trip's supervisor and the band. It was the first feature released by the revived incarnation of the Picturehouse marquee, which had been shut down since 2008.


The film opens with aerial footage of Vancouver and BC Place stadium with a radio DJ announcing Metallica's one-night-only concert. It then cuts to a heavy-metal fan driving into the empty parking lot and climbing on to the car's hood, whooping and laughing, but has difficulty due to his excessive weight. The film's main protagonist, Trip (Dane DeHaan) skates past the fan but wipes out. Trip is a roadie for Metallica. Skating into the underground parking and venturing into the dressing room halls, encounters each of the band members. Giving a brown paper 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 to the arena in a time lapse to Metallica's traditional opener, 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 ingests a blue and red capsule.

As Metallica begins Fuel, Trip drives through the deserted streets with Metallica-esque flames on flat surfaces of the cityscape, alluding to the pill's effects or supernatural energy. Distracted by studying his map, Trip runs a red light but brakes late in the intersection's middle when he noticed a bloody hand smear on an illuminated sign. He gets t-boned by another driver, which subsequently flips the van.

Crawling out of the van, Trip peers into the other car and, hearing radio reports of what's happening, 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. From the truck, Trip retrieves only a gas tank, a map, and a doll of unknown importance with a noose around its neck. As he exits, electricity crackles in the van from an unrevealed source, as a reference to the band's album, Ride The Lightning, as the title song off the album begins. Trip wanders down a street and a Police horse drags a dead officer across its path. After this, some people begin to run past him, oblivious to his presence, followed by some police cruisers, one of which is on fire. Emerging into the middle of a street, he realizes he has wandered between a large group of 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. Suddenly, the window shatters behind Trip.

In the heat of battle, a horseman (listed in the credits as The Rider, and known by some as "The Death Dealer") 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, killing him. It is not formally indicated for which side The Rider fights. Enraged by 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 manages to evade 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. Trip ties a black 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 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, and causing lighting trusses to fall. 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.[6]

Through the Never made its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[7]

The film was released in IMAX theaters across the United States on September 27, 2013,[8] 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."[9]

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.[10]

Peter Rugg of The Village Voice writes that the film is "the most immersive concert film ever."[11]

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."[12]

The film has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Music Film.


The official soundtrack for Through the Never was released on September 24, 2013 via Blackened Recordings.[13] The album has charted in several countries. The album was nominated for a Grammy for best recording package.


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