Coming to theatres and to iTunes tomorrow, Friday, September 25: MISSION TO LARS
William Spicer and James Moore’s chronicle of a rock pilgrimage made its debut in UK theatres back in 2012. Festival screenings followed at CPH:DOX, Reykjavik’s Docs&Shorts, Brisbane, and East End, among other smaller events.
Tom is a severely autistic British man who lives in a residential care facility and is a huge Metallica fan. All he wants is to meet drummer Lars Ulrich, prompting his siblings, Kate, the doc’s producer and narrator, and Will, the film’s director, to try to realize his dream by taking him on a road trip across America, allowing them to have some long overdue family bonding along the way. While sympathetic to Will’s condition, Fragile X Syndrome, which manifests in learning impairment, obsession, and panic attacks, Kate and Will seem to have only the most rudimentary connection to their brother, making their awkward attempts to relate to him at times very grating. Still, one of the film’s goals is spreading awareness about the learning disabled, so there’s some potential worth in the audience learning from their mistakes. While the film relies far too much on tired road trip conventions and manufactured suspense, and stretches its thin premise nearly to the breaking point, a warmth registers, particularly when Ulrich finally enters the picture.