Anyone who knows me would be surprised to discover that the documentary which has brought me the greatest joy is about a heavy metal rock band… but it is. And I am so happy to see that Anvil! The Story of Anvil is finally getting a theatrical release in Toronto. (If it doesn’t come to your town, you will be able to rent it from your indie video store soon.)
I first saw this film when it opened last year’s Hot Docs festival. I sat beside Bruce Cowley, creative head of CBC’s digital documentary channel. As I mentioned above, I am not a rocker gal and I had low expectations of the film. Bruce, grey-suited and obsessively pecking at his Blackberry, seemed equally as nonplussed. Then the lights dimmed.
We should have been warned to hang on tight – for we were on embarking on a roller coaster ride.
Watching the official trailer on YouTube just now I cringed at the melodramatic music. If you’ve seen this film – about aging Toronto rockers and best friends trying to relive a near-impossible dream – you would know that there is plenty of melo and plenty drama. No need for overwought music to convince you. But then half-way through the trailer I decided its soundtrack suited the tone of the film – the story really is this emotional!
If you have an idea that Anvil! is going to be a dull film about the history of a rock band, you’re way off course. In fact, there has never been a documentary made about a rock band quite like this before – and it’s because the audience is literally invited to join in on the band’s comeback ride.
Bruce and I were reduced to tears. We were happy to salute Director Sacha Gervasi and original band members Steve (Lips) Kudlow and Robb Reiner in a standing ovation. It isn’t the greatest doc ever, but it’s a thrill – and how often does a doc thrill? I left the theatre thinking then that I can honestly recommend this film to everyone I know. And I still feel like that a year later.
Never give up on your dreams.
(Ondi Timoner, director of upcoming Hot Docs select We Live In Public, interviewed Anvil! director Sascha Gervesi. For the interview, go to the International Documentary Organization website.)