I haven’t talked about this film yet, but trust me on this, in six months it’ll be the documentary every good film nerd will be talking about. I don’t wanna get hyperbolic about it, but i’d compare it to ‘The King of Kong’ in the way I think it will really get a lot of exposure via word-of-mouth, and people blogging about what a gem of a film it is.
At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the “demi-gods of Canadian metal, ” influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams.
I hadn’t seen or even heard anything about the film before I sat down at a screening at the LFF to see it, and it blew me away. The lazy-comparison critics are making is ‘It’s the real life Spinal Tap’ and the director to an extent goes out of his way to try and present it like that (showing knobs being turned up to 11, members retelling stories about the bands names before they were ‘Anvil’), but underneath that selling-to-an-audience-proposition it’s a genuinely touching film about a band (and especially the lead singer ‘Lips’ and the drummer ‘Rob Reiner’.. yeah that’s really his name) that are still trying to make it 30 years after their brief hit of fame. Still plugging away and are consistently determined to make it big again, despite everyone and everything around the band conspiring against them.
When documentarians luck-out with the characters they’re capturing on film, it really lifts the film above a straight up doc into a place where you genuinely rooting for the people to succeed/fail and hopefully realise their dreams. ‘King of Kong’ got this with Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell, and ‘Anvil!’ get’s it with Lips and Rob Reiner (That’s Rob on the left of the poster, Lips.. is the naked dude)
I’m not ashamed to say I shed a tear… not just once…but TWICE during the film, and if you don’t shed a little tear.. well maybe you’re a cold hearted bastard.
Up there next to ‘The Good, the Bad and the Weird’, ‘Anvil!: The Story of Anvil’ was the best film I saw at the LFF this year. Hands down.
Check out some clips from the film here, the trailer is supposed to arrive next week, and if you see the film playing at a local filmfest, I highly recommend you seek it out.
Check the Q&A from the LFF screening below (via youtube)