This fascinating, entertaining documentary grabs the rock-’n’-roll-lifestyle bull by the horns and wrestles it to the recording-studio floor during the heavy-metal band’s two-year therapist-couch approach to rock-group democracy under the guidance of performance-enhancement coach Phil Towle. Filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were hired to shoot a promotional film as the rich and famous headbangers made their first studio recording of original material in five years. The project turned into a heavy-metal version of Let It Be
, as a cooperative creative process proved to be painful and guitarist-vocalist James Hetfield walked out of the studio and into treatment for alcoholism. The film vividly gives us an idea of the personalities and group dynamics behind the instruments here and a good idea of what these rock stars look like when stripped down to basic human elements.