Take it from someone who freely admits to never having bought an album by Metallica or attended a concert by the wildly popular heavy metal band. You don't have to be a metal-head to be mesmerized by this picking-at-scabs look at the group's struggle to stay together and record a new album—all with the help of a sweater-wearing therapist earning nearly $500,000 a year to prod the band's members into talking about their feelings.
Lead singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, who founded Metallica in 1981, are the most colorful figures (and the primary antagonists) in the documentary, which follows the group from 2001 to this year. Both are married with kids, but Hetfield continues to party too hard while the more directed Ulrich invests his money in contemporary art. When Hetfield disappears into rehab and his bandmates barely hear from him for six months, Metallica's future is in jeopardy. What began for filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky (Brother's Keeper) as a making-of-an-album film instead became a dark journey into the soul of the band. This is a rock and roll movie for grown-ups. (Not rated)