Total Film - 03/01/2009 4 stars out of 5 -- "Gervasi's account isn't simply comic: it's an affecting study of young dreams buffeted by middle age..."
Empire - 03/01/2009 5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] amazing story about optimism, limits and the underside of the rock 'n' roll dream. Much more than a rockumentary, this will have you questioning whether anyone should ever abandon their dreams."
Box Office - 03/29/2009 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Anvil is a real Canadian heavy metal band, and also one of hard rock's great also-rans....Using a Greek chorus of metal gods, including members of Anthrax and Slash from Guns N' Roses, Gervasi advances many theories for why success eluded this band."
Entertainment Weekly - 04/17/2009
“It's a hilarious, and unexpectedly moving, documentary about the greatest metal band you've probably never heard of -- Anvil, a crew of Canadian headbangers who came up in the demon-thrash ‘80s and were potent and original enough to influence the style and sound of Anthrax, Metallica, and Megadeth.” -- Grade: A
New York Times - 04/10/2009
“[T]he earnest, heartfelt striving of the two men at the center of Anvil makes the band's story more touching than comical.”
USA Today - 04/10/2009 3.5 stars out of 4 -- “The biggest surprise is not the pervasive comedy in this compelling rockumentary. It's the poignant, even heartbreaking, moments that sneak up on you as the saga unfolds.”
Los Angeles Times - 04/10/2009
“The film is a surprisingly charming look at the haphazard career path of some earnest, eternally hopeful rockers who cling to optimism about a glorious future despite harsh reality's repeated blows.”
Wall Street Journal - 04/10/2009
“[A] loopy, endearing documentary about the aging front men of a heavy-metal band....You'll be pulling for Anvil every step of the way.”
A.V. Club - 04/09/2009
"[W]hile ANVIL! is frequently funny, it'd be a mistake to call the band a joke....Within the portrait of Anvil's endurance, we also see why they never made it huge: The band is too nice."
Premiere - 04/09/2009 3 stars out of 4 -- "It shows the grit, sweat and blood that the non-pop rock bands have to deal with to do the thing they love....[The] interviews with Slash and Lars Ulrich add weight to the influence Anvil had on the heavy metal community."
Chicago Sun-Times - 04/22/2009 3 stars out of 4 -- "ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL is a documentary about the moderate rise and long, long fall of their band, where musicians in the two other slots came and went, but Lips and Robb rocked on."
Rolling Stone - 04/16/2009 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Want to hear the heart of rock & roll' You can hear it thundering in Anvil....[A] powerhouse doc..."
Washington Post - 05/15/2009
"THE STORY OF ANVIL is a love letter -- or, better yet, a devil's-horn-salute -- to the band from filmmaker Sacha Gervasi, an old Anvil fan..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 12/22/2009
Included in Chicago Sun-Times's "The Ten Best Documentaries Of 2009" -- "A story of hope, dogged perseverance and rock and roll..."
In the early 1980s, the Canadian metal band Anvil wrote the thrash blueprint for followers like Anthrax, Metallica, and Slayer. While those bands went on to become metal titans, Anvil faded into obscurity--so much that decades later, the band's core members--guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner--work menial day-jobs even as they continue to churn out little-heard records and dream of rock-star success. Director Sacha Gervasi (who was once a roadie for the band) chronicles the duo's efforts to regain their '80s glory in the funny and touching documentary ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL.
As the camera follows Anvil on a European tour organized by an inept manager and beset by comical, this-can't-be-real moments--flubbed itineraries, audiences that can be counted on one hand, club owners who refuse to pay for gigs--it might be easy to mistake ANVIL! for a THIS IS SPINAL TAP mockumentary. But despite the snicker-inducing heavy-metal trappings, this is also a warmly human portrait of two men pursuing their creative passions despite Sisyphean odds. The film is at its best when it explores the codependent friendship between the optimistic Lips and the more pragmatic Reiner (friends since they were 14, the two bicker like an old married couple); their relationships with their families (some of whom are still supportive and others who wish the fiftysomething pair would just grow up); and the difficulties of pursing a career in music (while Lips's siblings are solidly middle-class, the guys in Anvil just wanna rock--and they have made financial sacrifices to do so). Their struggles will ring true to anyone who has felt the pull of the artist's life and wondered whether it would ever pay off. In Anvil's case, audiences will be rooting for them to finally make it to the big time.
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