The name Lars Ulrich is revered and reviled in music circles - his outspoken comments have led to ridicule on the internet and the Metallica documentary 'Some Kind Of Monster' portrayed him in a less than favourable light. However, he still has his fans. Including one Tom Spicer, who lives in a Devon care home with his Fragile X syndrome. 'Mission To Lars' charts the journey to meet his idol.
Tom is not alone on his quest. Instead, Tom's siblings inspire, accompany and encourage him on his voyage across the pond to find the Metallica drummer that he's spent the last twenty years hoping to meet. Sister Kate is a journalist who attempts to pull the strings to arrange the meeting while brother/co-director Will documents proceedings as well as lending much needed support.
'Mission To Lars' wears many hats, traversing many genres. And states, for that matter. As the trio make their way around the US, the documentary seamlessly combines fish-out-of-water comedy with free-spirited road trip, with a healthy dose of angst and anxiety along the way. Regardless of Tom's disability, like any family, the Spicers' relationship can be fractious.
The relative ease in which Tom manages to survive so far from the comfort of his existing routine and his friends back at his care home is quite the testament to the hard work of siblings. Understandably, it's not all plain sailing (nor always particularly interesting) but they succeed in getting Tom to a Metallica show. Backstage, no less.
The film's conclusion seems somewhat anticlimactic but whether Tom actually meets Lars is almost irrelevant. For Tom, it is a voyage of self-discovery. For the other Spicer siblings, a chance to reconnect. For the viewers, an inspirational message to follow your dreams. Maybe one day, we'll take Tom's lead and head out on our own mission. We can only hope it'll be half as poignant as this Spicer family trip.
'Mission To Lars' is out in selected UK cinemas now, through Mission Films. For more info, head to missiontolars.com.