Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledging European tour Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams.
Steve 'Lips' Kudlow,
Surely this is the most moving piece of film about not just a musician but also a portrait of someone who suffers, copes and lives with depression. Cut together with home movies, family photos, concert footage and interviews old and new it tells the extraordinary life of this very talented but tortured artist. There has always been a link between madness and creativity; artists are slightly different, outsiders, free thinkers, they must be a bit mad to make the work they do. But the story of Daniel is one of actual mania, real madness, deep depression and an immense body of work from, films to music to paintings and sketches. It tells it like it is, it shows him at all times falling apart, going in and out of mental hospitals and still working prolifically. The interviews with his parents are very moving as they at times are reduced to tears and lost for words. Seeing Daniel now how he is as apposed to how he was is also a lump in the throat moment. He sits hunched over his piano, staring into space, banging out song after song and smoking cigarette after cigarette it is heartbreakingly fascinating. But putting his mental health to one side for the moment lets focus on the work, Daniel has amassed literally thousands of tapes full of songs and spoken word, he used to make so many films and has an equally large collection of drawings and art. This amount of work is what makes this documentary so good. You can tell the whole story when it has been so well documented like this from the very beginning right up to the present day every part of Daniels journey is either on tape or film whether it was documented by himself or the likes of MTV. So this portrayal is fascinating, heart-warming and sad but it shows the real genius behind Daniels music that has not only sold records on its own merit but has been covered by over 150 of the worlds top recording artists. If you don't know about Daniel Johnston isn't it about time you found out?
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