American heavy metal band Metallica have released a music video for their new single, “Day That Never Comes”. The 8:24 minute promo, filmed by Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, shows the ethical dilemmas faced by troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, with underlying themes of forgiveness as an alternative to bitterness.
Two soldiers riding on the back of a humvee find themselves in an ambush. They scramble into the scrub to take cover and identify the whereabouts of their attackers. It is only then that one of them discovers that he’s been shot. He’s carried off in a helicopter but his chances don’t look great.
The next sequence shows the remaining soldier with another unit. They’re stopped by a civilian with a broken down car. How do they respond? He’s holding jumper leads. Until they’re sure what’s happening, they hold the guy at gunpoint. In the car there’s a woman wearing chador. She walks toward the soldier. Is she a suicide bomber? The tension builds…
Somehow the soldier realises that the situation is not a threat. The short film ends with him looking into the sky and the band laying down their instruments at dusk.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube
The Day That Never Dies music video was filmed by Thomas Vinterberg in Acton, an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles, California on July 31, 2008. Vinterberg is known as one of the co-founders the Dogme 95 movement in filmmaking, (with Lars von Trier). He’s clearly not worried about following the guidelines here: the music is not live, there evidence of optical work and filters, and there’s plenty of evidence of weapons.
Co-founder of Metallica, Lars Ulrich, has said that a father-son relationship inspired the song’s lyrics but that the band didn’t want the true meaning behind the track to bleed into its visual component.
James Hetfield, lead vocalist, is quoted by MTV as saying:
“That’s the beauty, I think, of writing vague but powerful lyrics — that someone like a movie director can interpret it in his own way and obviously, someone creative is able to take the metaphors and apply them to whatever he needs in his own life. The main [theme of the video] is the human element of forgiveness and someone doing you wrong, you feeling resentment and you being able to see through that in the next situation that might be similar and not take your rage or resentment out on the next person and basically keep spreading the disease of that through life…The one thing that I wasn’t keen on here was Metallica plugging into a modern war or a current event [that] might be construed as some sort of political statement on our part… There are so many celebrities that soapbox their opinions, and people believe it’s more valid because they’re popular. For us, people are people — you should all have your own opinion. We are hopefully putting the human element in what is an unfortunate part of life. There are people over there dealing with situations like this, and we’re showing the human part of being there.”