NOF Anvil: The Story of Anvil. By Paul Savage

Should you ever give up on your dreams? That’s the question asked by this documentary film. It’s directed by Sacha Gervaisi, who roadied for a Canadian Heavy Metal band in the 80’s called Anvil. They are shown at the start in their 80’s glory, playing a huge festival in Japan, alongside Scorpions and Bon Jovi, interspersed with talking heads of rock legends saying what an influence Anvil were on them. Playing hard, rocking metal with some crazy performances, including playing slide guitar with a vibrating dildo.
Fast forward 20 years or so, and the frontman, Steve Kuddlow, is working as a delivery driver for a school meals company. Steve, known throughout as lips for his incredibly expressive rock face, which does give him the air of a slightly confused muppet. The band get an offer to tour Europe at 1500 euros a night. What could possibly go wrong?
In short everything. Their manager doesn’t speak very good English. They miss trains and get stuck in weird places. They play to 5 people. They nearly kill a bar owner who doesn’t want to pay them in Prague. These bits are balls out hilarious, if only for the sense of optimism that Lips shows throughout. He’s rocking, and nothing will rain on his parade.
When he gets back to Canada though, there’s trouble brewing. They can’t find a record deal for the 13th album they want to put out. They can’t raise the 12k needed for the producer they want. Do they put the rock on the shelf, give up the dreams of making it, and go back to normal life as 50 year olds?
The film doesn’t pull any of the emotional punches. The drummer’s wife doesn’t think they should carry on, and there is a big fight which looks to tear the band apart. Every part of you will want them to succeed, because Lips is such a free spirited nice guy. It all rests in the end on a big concert in japan. Will it sell out and make them the money for the album, or will it be a waste of time and money like the Europe tour?
I won’t tell you here, but this film has to be the most uplifting tale I’ve seen in a cinema in years, and it genuinely is a triumph of the human spirit. I loved it. Best film I’ve seen this year