Anvil! The Story of Anvil Sacha Gervasi

Anvil! The Story of Anvil Sacha Gervasi
I hope I’m not giving away too much by revealing that the final frame of Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a photo taken in the mid-’80s of the film’s director, Sacha Gervasi (at the time a metal-head teen), arm in arm with one of his idols: "Lips,” the lead singer of Anvil.

The film is an ode to the Canadian metal demi-gods and obviously the work of a huge fan who wanted to paint a sympathetic portrait of the band without sugar-coating the somewhat depressing reality of their constant near misses with success, fame and fortune.

Perhaps it’s because they come across as such nice dudes but somehow Anvil never seem pathetic for holding onto their dream. They just seem like optimists and idealists, in the truest sense of the word.

Lifelong friends Lips and Rob have been in Anvil for over 30 years, and they’re basically an endearing old married couple, complete with the crying fights and emotional reconciliations. The film opens with members of bands like Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Guns n’ Roses and Motörhead talking about how much Anvil rocked back in the day, but then pulls back to an intimate portrait of the band, still kicking after all these years.

The guys go on a botched European tour where a few awesome festival gigs are interspersed amongst non-paying, poorly attended club shows, and then they go to England to record and release their 13th album, bankrolled by Lips’s sister, who just wants to see her big brother realise his dreams.

It’s heartbreaking and heart-warming all at once, and it’s no wonder that the band were greeted by a standing ovation when they took the stage for a Q&A. The crowd of old and new fans were genuinely won over by their "don’t stop believing spirit.”

The film will be getting theatrical distribution soon, and it might just turn out to be the best music doc of the year. (Independent)