So, it seems the list might finally have a modern day documentary that’ll stick. Anvil! The Story of Anvil is exactly what it says on the tin; the story of one of the progenitors of the heavy metal genre of rock, the band Anvil. The funny thing with Anvil is, most people in the general world haven’t heard of them, but you mention their name in any circles of rock and roll, particularly metal, and you’ll get quite the reaction indeed. The “Big 4” of Metal cited in the film; Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeath, all acknowledge Anvil as a major influence on their work. And yet, their name isn’t plastered over the annals of music, they’re not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and despite a very loyal fanbase they’ve accrued over their 30 years of playing, they almost never sell out a concert. This is a slice of their life, and an exploration of a man, two men, who will do anything to achieve their dreams.
These guys are the perfect example of following your dreams, even if life throws you nothing but lemons and nothing ever comes of it. It sounds a lot sadder than it is, and if you really look at their situation, it’s a sad situation. But they, and the film, almost never sink down to that level; there’s such a massive air of positivity that, myself, I couldn’t help but have a big, stupid grin on my face through half the film. The whole thing is essentially the world throwing bad situation and bad situation at the two guys at the heart of the band, and despite a few blow-ups when things get particularly unfair, they take everything in stride and still play their music with a smile on their faces, because that in itself is the dream; that’s what they really love. It’s an incredibly empathetic film, one that is so easy to relate to, since we all have dreams that we want to see happen, so we find it easy to root for these two guys who, despite all that’s happened (or hasn’t happened), stick to what they’re doing for the sheer love of it.
The film itself is very well structured documentary, in that it doesn’t try and structure anything; the guys’ real life is enough of a structure, so the film takes the right approach in simply following them around and letting them do their thing, with just the added caveat that there’s cameras around to capture it all. I do have a feeling, though, that the rather upbeat ending was purposefully selected to be the upbeat ending of the doc, but as far as I know I don’t think it was manufactured, so don’t get that impression. But, most importantly, this documentary is entertaining to watch; it’s not only empathetic and well-structured, it’s also just flat out fun. Even the rough parts hit us that much harder because we like what we’re seeing, and that’s all anyone can ask when watching a film, in my opinion, including a documentary. Add to that the relatively short running time, and you’ve got a pretty nice winner here to spend your time on.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10