Saturday, October 17, 2009

Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2009)


When they were 14 years old, Canadian Jewish teenagers Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner began a rock band together. Now in their 50s, and despite being heavily respected among their piers, they still struggle every day, having been one of the few metal legends to never have made it big.

I'll admit I'm not a big fan of metal rock, but after hearing countless stories and praise for Gervasi's documentary I figured it was most definitely worth a look... and it is quite good. The story of Lips and Reiner, who the documentary centers entirely around, is quite amazing, and a harsh look at the reality of the music scene. As is often alluded to in the film, you can't just be good, you have to be marketable, and unfortunately for Anvil they were neither marketable, nor had people around them who could market them. Now forced to do dead end jobs, and tour next to empty bars, the movie is subtle in sad, and yet you can't help but find yourself hoping for them to find success.

Gervasi's first time behind the camera does show a bit too often though. He knows what all to concentrate one, the family, the struggles, the music, but it always feels a bit dry, as if he's one step behind the emotion. It leads to a series of up and down events that capture your heart, and leave you hanging, and it's the strength of will of the central stars that pulls through the film. You find yourself oddly uplifted by their optimism, accepting of their heavy character flaws, and observing their ups and downs. Gervasi is great at telling their story, no matter how deep it gets sometimes, and as such the viewer is better off for it. As well Gervasi manages to catch some of the more amusing moments, each of which comes at the cost of the band... such as a 10,000capacity arena only selling 174 seats.

The sad truth of Anvil remains throughout the film, that despite their talent, they never catch a break. A sad truth that plagues millions of bands across the globe. As they describe it, hitting it big is like winning the lotto, and yet like all those millions of bands, Anvil believes it will one day happen for them. It's a true underdog story, and a fun one to follow throughout.

While it is most definitely a flawed documentary, Anvil's story is one worth telling, and one worth watching, a sad, and yet fun, tale of a band that just never hit the big time.

1 better thoughts:

BJC said...

Anvil Photos by Brent J. Craig

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