The Anvil movie interestingly begins with the band shown playing at a Japan rock festival in the 80s. They shared the same stage with powerhouse rock bands that made it big after that such as Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Bon Jovi – pretty big names! The story, however, is about Anvil not making it big. They did not enjoy the same success. In fact, they pretty much had bad luck for years to come. They recorded several albums, 13 of them, despite the incompetency of their manager. Why they did not just find another manager is unknown and why none of the other rock bands that had success have Anvil open up for them at concerts, since the movie shows them saying positive things about Anvil in interviews is also unknown.
The story is told from the perspective of Anvil’s founding members from Toronto (Reiner, Kudlow and Arrigoni), Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner who made a childhood pact to remain true to being rock stars until they got old. The movie shows where they mostly played at local bars and dreamed of making it big in the industry. They tried really hard. It was touching to see them crying and their family members crying over the stress of it all. It is particularly sad to see them try to play a European tour that was set up by their manager where they got lost from missing trains, or having no train tickets because the manager didn’t book any, and they ran into all types of errors trying to make their scheduled gigs. They end up losing a great deal of money for not getting paid for their missed appearances and lost money from being off of their jobs at home. They spent years playing to small crowds. It is inspiring to see the dedication that Kudlow and Reiner have for each other and for the band, even though they wanted to give up so many times. They are shown arguing and fighting many times. Then, after so many years of frustration and failure, they finally get a producer with a vision, Chris Tsangarides. He worked with them on their 13th album in which they named “This is Thirteen,” but they were unable to market it successfully. The story shows their light at the end of tunnel when they are booked to play at a festival in Tokyo. A promoter from Japan was one of the few people that saw them on the disastrous European tour. See it pays not to give up! It is heart-warming to see Anvil’s joy of walking out on stage to thousands of fans from their performance in Japan in the 80s. They had worried that they would be playing to a small group a people like so many times before. Their music is actually very good. It is a wonder why they did not make it in the industry in the past. This is a great movie. It shows passion, heart and soul. It also shows the value and reward of perseverance in the midst of adversity and it shows that hope does not disappoint.
Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Dir. Sacha Gervasi. Perf. Robb Reiner, et al. Amazon, 2008. Film. 5 April 2013.