METALLICA: This Monster Lives: The Inside Story of Some Kind of Monster

Joe Berlinger, Author, Greg Milner, Author with Greg Milner. St. Martin's $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-33311-9

In 2001, the hugely successful hard-rock/heavy metal band Metallica got together in a converted army bunker in San Francisco to record its first collection of new songs in years. Raw from the departure of their bass player yet determined to write and record together, the rock stars began group therapy with Phil Towle, a gentle-voiced therapist (or "performance-enhancement coach"). Far from hiding this image-smashing move, however, the band allowed acclaimed documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky to film, well, whatever. Even after Metallica lead singer James Hetfield slammed the therapy and left the recording studio, the creators of the brilliant documentaries Brother's Keeper and Paradise Lost were allowed to keep filming. What emerged two years later was a rock documentary, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster , that is arguably as defining a portrait of the values and conflicts of our times as Gimme Shelter is of its time. In an absorbing narrative, Berlinger (with rock journalist Milner) describes just what it took—the myriad decisions and risks—to turn nearly 1,600 hours of footage into a story that delivers an emotional impact that is all the greater for being true. This book should be required reading for aspiring filmmakers because it reveals the huge difference between turning the cameras on a contrived situation that purports to be "reality" and making a cinema verité or nonfiction film. Berlinger shows that capturing truth is both art and science, and that the best efforts require that the filmmakers risk as much as their subjects. 75 b&w photos. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-0-312-33312-6
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4668-6696-6
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