This film is reasonably well-made from a documentary perspective, but it’s also just this side of unwatchable. It shines an almost too accurate light on its chosen subject, but it doesn’t ultimately tell the audience anything but what colossal douchebags the members of Metallica are in real life.
It captures the band at its emotional and artistic low point, during the recording of one of the most notorious albums in Heavy Metal history, St. Anger. The contents consist largely of drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist James Hetfield sniping at each other and being generally whiny. There is one genuinely touching scene in which Ulrich reconciles with former Metallica member (and later Megadeth frontman) Dave Mustaine, but that’s about it for positive human interaction.
It doesn’t help that nearly all the musical portions are drawn from one of Metallica’s worst albums, and the scenes shown from the writing process for that album are almost laughable. There’s also a surprisingly small amount of music in the film, with much more emphasis on the unpleasant personal interactions of the bandmembers than the actual musical angle.
As I stated, as a documentary this film is capable enough, but between the unpleasantness of the content and the generally dreadful music, it’s still a genuine trial to sit through, and unless you’re an absolute fanatic about the band, I can’t really recommend watching it.