TIFF 2013: Metalhead Review



Contemporary World Cinema

Director: Ragnar Bragason

Thrashing, moshing, black, speed, doom, new wave of British and heavy, metal rules. It’s a vast collection of camaraderies and noise. And the usual arguments towards carpet bombing your ear drums is that it A) can help the troubled and frustrated vent their clogged emotions in a healthy and interesting way and B) fucking rules so shut up DAD. Icelandic director Ragnar Bragason’s Metalhead, is about option A (and a little bit of B), but is moreover about how overcoming tragedy is never black and white, even in corpsepaint.

Hera wasn’t the same after her brother died before her eyes. Her entire household was shattered, but her reaction could be seen from a satellite looking down on their microscopic farmland community. Constantly donning her brother’s leather jacket, a threat to move away and the smell of stolen liquor in her breath, she’s pushing the patience of all those trying to understand her. When an unusual new priest moves into, Hera’s confronted by an outside world she’s shut out.


It could be the metal. It could also be collecting, painting, self-affliction, but it’s coping. Hera’s entire family is trying to cope, and her parents may be suffering more than her in silence. Metal just makes for a sublime contrast and comparison to the Icelandic surroundings, Hera trying to wizard some thrash tracks in the barn, a nearby audience of befuddled cattle. But Hera’s trials seem to be fighting for attention, and while they all stop at the same plot points it does feel like the beer’s been watered when one incident doesn’t feel more potent than the other. (Zack Kotzer)


Friday, September 13th, Scotiabank 10, 9:00pm

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