Tag Archives: Nimród Antal

CAPSULE: METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER (2013)

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: , James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo

PLOT: A roadie goes on a mysterious errand during a Metallica concert.

Still from Metallica Through the Never (2013)
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It’s a weird movie for fans of Metallica, not a Metallica movie for fans of weird movies.

COMMENTS: Obviously, aficionados of hard rock outfit Metallica’s shredding guitars, brutal pounding rhythms, and morbid macho posturing will be thrilled with this 90-minute testament to their precision musicianship and sweaty stage presence. Fans will be happy to hear that the 14-song set isn’t a plug for the latest album, but instead is of a classic greatest-hits survey of crowd favorites.

To me, on the other hand, every Metallica song sounds like a guy with anger-management issues yelling at his malfunctioning washing machine. Then again, I think popular music never recovered from the wrong turn it took at Bill Haley & the Comets.

Still, as a pure adrenaline/testosterone concert concoction, Through the Never is near the top of the heap. The elaborate stage production features walls of video monitors (and even a video floor that sometimes “fills” with blood), green lasers shooting skyward, the assembly and demolition of a colossus, and a sequence where the electrical wiring goes haywire and speakers come crashing down onto the stadium floor, all captured with some impressive crane shots. Even with the receding hairlines, the performance is of sufficient energy to avoid Spinal Tap syndrome.

All of this will, obviously, play to fans looking for the virtual concert experience. Through the Never‘s extra ambition comes in its feature-length music video style narrative about a roadie named Trip who’s sent to recover a mysterious parcel while the band plays. His mission takes him through a surreal Vancouver nightscape ruled by rioters and a horseman in a gas mask. Director Nimród Antal indulges his visual imagination with weird moments like a bleeding guitar and a walking voodoo doll. These music video styled semi-narrative excursions effectively break up what otherwise might have become a tedious visual exercise in determining how many ways you can shoot a guitar so it reminds you of a phallus. And, although the symbolism will be obscure to outsiders, there is a touching point to Trip’s quest that Metallica diehards will surely pick up on. Non-essential for non-fans, but not nearly as bad as it could have been, and infinitely better than the last movie we reviewed in these pages sponsored by a band.

I find echoes of the fascist concert sequences from Pink Floyd The Wall in the call-and-response exercises with the adoring audience who chant angry lyrics about death like holy texts. That’s not unique to Metallica, of course: this Dionysian abandonment, the adolescent’s desire to dissolve his individuality into the headbanging collective, is the thing I’ve always hated most about rock concerts.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“Who says a movie has to make a lick of sense to be entertaining?… If half an hour of bizarro side-narrative fever dream is the price of admission for a gorgeously lensed, best-seat-in-the-house hour of chugging rock brutality, I’ll pay gladly.”–Colin Covert, Minnesota Star-Tribune (contemporaneous)

76. KONTROLL (2003)

“I had something in mind for most of the scenes and images in the film and almost without fail, people have interpreted those moments differently… What I’ve really learned in this process is that it doesn’t really matter what I think I’m doing, that’s the beauty of it really, that once it’s out and there are all these hundreds of other eyes trained on it, it becomes a conversation.”–Director Nimród Antal on symbolism in Kontroll

Recommended

DIRECTED BY: Nimród Antal

FEATURING: Sándor Csányi, Eszter Balla, Bence Mátyássy, Gyözö Szabó, Lajos Kovács, György Cserhalmi

PLOT: Bulcsú, a Budapest metro transit cop, copes with eccentric passengers and incompetent coworkers as he pursues a veiled serial killer.  Living and sleeping in the tunnels, Bulcsú is bullied by tormentors, chases gang members, dodges trains and follows a mysterious girl as he tracks a murderer who pushes passengers under speeding engines.  As the killings continue unabated, suspicion eventually turns toward Bulcsú himself.

Still from Kontroll (2003)

BACKGROUND:

  • Director Nimród Antal was born in Los Angeles (of Hungarian ancestry) and moved to Hungary to study filmmaking at the Hungarian Academy of Drama and Film. He made his first feature film, Kontroll, then returned to the U.S. to direct conventional Hollywood products, most recently Predators (2010).
  • The city of Budapest allowed Antal access to the subway system to shoot the film during the five hours per night the trains did not run.  A man claiming to be the Director of the Budapest Metro appears in a prologue to the film to stress that Kontroll is a work of fiction and that real Metro employees do not behave in the ways depicted.
  • Kontroll won the Prix de la Jeunesse (Prize of the Young) at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It was the first Hungarian film to screen at Cannes in twenty years.
  • Antal cited Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, Terry Gilliam, Martin Scorsese, and Beat Takeshi as influences on Kontroll.

INDELIBLE IMAGE:  The most enduring image is a metaphor for the troubled Bulcsúis’s transcendence.  The kontroller hides in the underground sanctuary from the real world above. But the outside is only a symbol.  Bulcsúis is really seeking refuge from himself and his feelings.  Uncertain about his own emotions, and lacking in confidence, avoiding the world above is his way of postponing self-confrontation.  What then, can be more symbolic of his waiting deliverance than the symmetrical image of the great, silvery, central escalator leading to the bright lights and certain reality of the surface?  Bulcsú knows he must eventually ascend it but he has not yet the courage to face that eventuality.  Will his love for the mysterious, bear-costumed Szofi become the key to unlocking his emotions and freeing himself?

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Kontroll is a fantasy that stands alone in its enigmatic singularity. The film craftily assimilates drama, suspense and social satire into a multifaceted story in the unusual setting of an Old World subway. Director Antal surprisingly succeeds at combining an unlikely set of plot elements. He decants the chaos of social rambunctiousness, the absurdity that entails when authority dictates regulation at the simplest levels of its jurisdiction, and a survey of attitudes and life’s daily ironies into an imaginative story. The resulting integration creates a unique, alternative viewing experience.


Original English language trailer for Kontroll

COMMENTS:  Hydraulics hiss, rails clatter, and trains blast at high speeds in the dimly lit, Continue reading 76. KONTROLL (2003)

RECOMMENDED AS WEIRD: KONTROLL (2003)

Kontroll has been upgraded to the List of the 366 Best Weird Movies of all time. Please visit the full certified weird entry for Kontroll for comments and deeper coverage of the film.

Recommended

DIRECTED BY: Nimród Antal

FEATURING: Sándor Csányi, Bence Mátyássy, Eszter Balla, Gyözö Szabó, Lajos Kovács, and György Cserhalmi

PLOT: A Budapest metro transit cop copes with eccentric passengers and coworkers as he

Still from Kontroll (2003)

pursues a veiled serial killer.  Living and sleeping in the tunnels, Bulcsú is bullied by tormentors, chases gang members, dodges trains and follows a mysterious girl as he tracks a murderer who pushes passengers under speeding engines.

WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LIST: Kontroll is a fantasy that stands alone in its enigmatic singularity.  The film craftily assimilates drama, suspense and social satire into a multifaceted story in the unusual setting of an Old World subway.   Director Antal surprisingly succeeds at combining an unlikely combination of plot elements.  He decants the chaos of social rambunctiousness, the absurdity that entails when authority dictates regulation at the simplest levels of its jurisdiction, and a survey of attitudes and life’s daily ironies into an imaginative story.  The resulting integration presents a unique, alternate viewing experience.

COMMENTS:  Hydraulics hiss, rails clatter, and trains blast at high speeds in the dimly lit, neural convolutions of the Budapest underground.  A man runs for his life through a tunnel between two trains.  A hooded figure emerges from cracks in the wall to launch the unwary under oncoming subway cars.  A puzzling girl (Balla) haunts the maze-like passages disguised as a bear.  Ticket inspectors engage in madcap jousts and chases with each other when they are not comically pursuing a colorful assortment of freeloading ruffians.  A host of eccentric characters cavort and couple in a subterranean round-table of flickering signal lamps, iron Continue reading RECOMMENDED AS WEIRD: KONTROLL (2003)