+ high-res version

Watched: 5 August

There’s certainly an obvious case for long-running metal outfit Anvil being a real-life version of Spinal Tap – and there are plenty of scenes here that recall Rob Reiner’s pioneering and much-loved mockumentary – but this film doesn’t just make the two principal, longstanding band members out to be jokes; it has real heart too, and serves as a celebration of the notion of following your dreams while also paying close attention to the effects such long-term optimism can have on individuals and families.

Anvil nearly made it to the big time, back in the 1980s, and as this film attests they have a few famous supporters, though when a couple of big names pop up here to say nice things you can tell they’re discussing a band they clearly haven’t given much thought to for 30 years. Anyway, as the action follows the two core members of Anvil through the course of a couple of years (wearying European tours, attempts to stick with crummy jobs and wasted trips to record labels), you begin to realise just how much is at stake for them, and just how much success – even if occasionally it’s just measured in terms of securing a one-off gig or a decent-size crowd – means to these men; as such only the mean-spirited will be chuckling throughout the film at those Tap-like utterances and situations. This is a lovely, heartwarming documentary and even though the music isn’t my cup of tea at all I have nothing but admiration for Anvil’s singer and drummer. Good guys. (****)


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