Perhaps it's intentional, but watching three cosseted multi-millionaires riding bikes, going to their daughters ballet classes, selling off their art collections, (Ulrich toasts himself as one of them sells for $5,000,000), riding horses on ranches, and talking about themselves in Group Therapy, you can't help but feel ridiculed. Here these three stupendously wealthy morons chow down on cheeseburgers, try to intellectualise their actions, talking about re-connecting with each other, and indulge in the kind of group therapy sessions that simply have the rational part of the viewer muttering at the screen.
Every movie must have it's bad guy, and Phil Towne, the band's Group performance Coach (shrink, to you & me), is their silver tongued Rasputin, charming the group with distressingly vague statements such as "I appreciate your anger" and "What do you mean by that statement?", getting them to take apart everything and reassemble it in a wasteland of self-indulgent psychobabble. As he parades around in his collection of increasingly atrocious jumpers, the balding spin-doctor offers the group his dreadful lyrical ideas, ackonwledges his sacking with "I appreciate your statements, but don't you think we need to explore your feelings?", and worst of all writes a Metallica Mission Statement ...
"We have experienced and understood - now we must share...." It starts. The rest of it I could barely make out in a sea of astounded guffaws at the absurdity of it all.
In the meantime, "Some Kind Of Monster" lifts the lid and exposes the psyche of self-obssessed millionaires, so far removed from the business of being alive that they have lost their plot amongst navel-gazing self-analysis, ignorant intellectual groping, and occasionally an attempt to forge some music. As a rock film, there is no comapre :it's a brave and intriguing expose of the kind of irrelvant, cushioned world that millionaire rock stars live in that is simultaneously ridiculous and compelling.
The music is easily the most intruiging thing about the film. The band are seen grappling with writing new songs for the first time in seven years, as they lambast each other for bringing forth dull riffs. At one point Lars ends up going crazy and screaming "Do I have to write it down for you?" as Jaymz pulls forth another mediocre chord progression. Kirk meanwhile, sits in the middle and says nothing. He barely utter a word throughout the whole movie. The band are seen grappling with multiple versions of a song called "Temptation" that is the sound of museless millionaires fumbling in the dark, and the coupe de grace sees Lars father, a grizzled old Viking, listening to the new material - a shadowy, wordless, tuneless rumble of drums and echoey vocals - and tearing it to shreds. "It sounds like a bunch of kids who just found an echo machine" he says, as Lars looks suicidal. Like the advert : it's priceless.
Having quit the group for eight months, James finally returns in a rigourous, post rehab world of four hour days, and regimented creativity. The rest of the band rage against the fact that if it's after 4pm they can't listen to the song they're working on, and Lars is seen running around shouting obscenities in a moment of priceless frustration. By the end of the film, as the recording process crawls towards day 720, and numerous bassists are auditioned in a series of hopeless trials, the overall impression is relatively simple. Metallica are brave enough to show their heads above the parapet and expose their weakness. "Some Kind Of Monster" is the greatest rock movie ever made : no puffpiece like `Rattle And Hum', it mercilessly shows a bunch of multimillionaires far removed from reality trying to work out why they do what they do, driving stupid cars, and showing them for the indulged idiots that they often are. You don't even have to be a fan to know that this is absolutely essential viewing. Here's hoping for Puff Daddy : The Movie.