Mission to Lars is a touching documentary about Tom Spicer, a sufferer of an inherited learning disability similar to autism called Fragile X Syndrome, who dreams of meeting his idol, Lars Ulrich, the drummer in Metallica.
This dream which, due to his condition, has been more of an obsession for over a decade starts to look like a reality when Tom’s brother (an amateur film maker) and sister ( a journalist) decide to take Tom out of his care home in Devon and pack themselves off to America in a camper van for a road trip that chases Metallica on their World Magnetic Tour.
The film chronicles the challenges the trio face while travelling across the states, the difficulties Tom faces in taking this journey which opposes everything his condition craves, stability, comfort and quiet (Fragile X sufferers hear sound at over 10 times the volume of non sufferers). The film also follows Tom’s brother and sister, William and Katie’s, challenges as they attempt to understand the condition and learn more and better understand their brother.
The footage is raw and a bit rough round the edges which only adds even more realism to the feel of this documentary. The family scenes seem painfully honest and will sometimes make you smile, sometimes trouble you and sometimes bring a tear.
As you would expect, the film soundtrack is very much Metallica songs and for fans of the band, you get some very nice live clips and some very rare backstage footage of the band, especially as the mission nears an end. The film ends with some very touching and frank interviews with friends and family while Tom’s emotional reunions with his parents and friends at the care centre are sure to wet the cheeks of many viewers.
This film wont teach you too much about the condition and wont teach you much about Metallica but it is not meant to be a documentary of either. Instead you will see a really pleasing and touching documentary of a family trying to deal with a mental disability in a quite unique way. On top of that, all proceeds from the film’s screenings went to the charity, MENCAP.
What’s not to like?
Mission To Lars