Slamdance 2015: I Am Thor Review

I Am Thor documents the life of self-proclaimed rock god Jon Mikl “Thor”, a Canadian body builder/ musician who feels as though he never received his due recognition. His theatrical rock act which included feats of strength did achieve a moderate level of success in the 70s and 80s, but following a nervous breakdown in 1987, Mikl decided to hang up his hammer. Director Ryan Wise’s documentary concentrates on Thor’s multiple comeback attempts that began in 1998.

The early days of Mikl’s career could almost be an entire film itself, from his time spent as a nude waiter, to a strange kidnapping incident, and his brief stint as an actor in B movies just prior to his breakdown. The filmmakers met Mikl in the early 2000s when he owned and operated a pizza restaurant in Seattle and was just starting to tour again. Over the next decade they shot hundreds of hours of footage as Mikl put together his own tours on a shoestring budget, acted as his own manager, rotated through dozens of backup musicians, and performed for small venues and sometimes even house parties as though they were packed stadium shows.

The result is a touching, sometimes funny documentary about the perseverance required to achieve your dreams. If your dreams seem silly to some people, you just have to work that much harder for them. Despite his eccentricities Mikl clearly has a good heart which comes through anytime you see him interacting with fans. He may not have the physique of Thor anymore, but that just makes him all the more relatable.

Screens Sunday, Jan 25, 10:20am and Wednesday, Jan 28, 8:15pm

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