Saturday, November 13, 2010

Capsule Review: Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)

Anvil The Story of AnvilRock and Roll has provided great material for documentaries for decades, but the elements that make up these documentaries have been examined and parodied so often that it’s difficult to take a lot of the manufactured conflict and resolution seriously. But just when you think the genre has been tapped for all it’s worth – I felt that way after the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster – a film like this comes along to give you a bit of faith in the redemptive power of rock music. Presented as sort of a real life This Is Spinal Tap (some of the interview segments are obviously supposed to bring that film to mind, and there are memorable shots of an amplifier going to 11, as well as the requisite trip to Japan), the film follows Canadian 80s metal band Anvil as they attempt one more shot at the fame they had 20 years earlier when they shared the stage with luminaries like Scorpions and Bon Jovi. Sometimes depressing, often hilarious, we get a backstage pass for a disastrous European tour, in-fighting (between original members Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner) and attempts to record and market their 13th album This Is Thirteen. It doesn’t take a love (or even like) of heavy metal music to enjoy the rare insight into the struggles of two men desperate to keep doing the thing that they love, even as musical trends and their own bodies seem to be working against them.

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