ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL
Anvil follows Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner and their band, Anvil, which in 1982 released one of the heaviest albums in metal history, Metal on Metal. The album influenced an entire musical generation of rock bands, including Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, who all went on to sell millions of records. Anvil, on the other hand, took a different path - straight to obscurity.
Review by Louise Keller:
The metal that comes to mind after watching this documentary about a heavy metal band is gold. Solid gold. Incongruous, funny, unexpected and moving, Sacha Gervasi's film about the 80s band whose long career is anything but what we expect, is much more than a doco about a band. At first you might be forgiven for thinking you are watching a mockumentary (Spinal Tap comes immediately to mind), but pretty soon we become involved in the lives and relationships of its two founding band members. 'The music lasts forever - and so does the debt,' says lead singer Lips Kudlow, whose energy, enthusiasm and passion is enough to keep us on the edge of our seats throughout.
The film begins and ends on stage in Japan - there are 20 years in between. Watching Lips on stage at the Tokyo 1984 Super Rock Fest, tossing his unruly long curly hair, wearing a bondage harness, long black fishnet gloves and flaunting a dildo, it is impossible not to make certain assumptions. But these are all proven wrong as we journey with him from his Canadian home (and day job) to dozens of European destinations on the Tour from Hell, and a 6 week UK recording jaunt in a lottery ride of rock 'n roll. The film is as much about the relationship between Lips and his best buddy, drummer Robb Reiner, as it is the music. The two met and bonded as 14 year olds, vowing to 'rock forever', which they have done - on their own terms. Fame and fortune has eluded them, yet it is impossible to think of them as anything but a success. There is something intrinsically honest about these rough diamonds whose priorities are as pure as the snow strewn on the ground of their local pavements.
We are there for the good times and the bad. And there are many bad times. Like the time in Prague after a performance, when it seems that a bowl of goulash is about to replace payment. Their well-meaning tour manager ('I try') cannot speak English, drugs are discarded when there are no sniffer dogs, audiences fail to show up at all, the train is overbooked, tempers flare and relationships are on the skids. But the tour manager is not the only one who tries: Lips and Robb win the award for being the most optimistic, emotionally sincere pair of guys on the planet.
There is much to discover on this journey, and as we are told 'everything turns into something else.' I am no expert when it comes to heavy metal, but irrespective of the music, this film is for anyone and everyone interested in people. Like the anvil after which the band is named, there's longevity in this often hilarious insight.
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ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL (M)
CAST: Documentary with Tiziana Arrigoni, Kevin Goocher, Glenn Gyorffy, William Howell, Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, Lemmy, Robb Reiner, Slash
PRODUCER: Rebecca Yeldham
DIRECTOR: Sacha Gervasi
SCRIPT: Sacha Gervasi
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Christopher Soos
EDITOR: Andrew Dickler, Jeff Renfroe
MUSIC: David Norland
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 10, 2009