Published on June 29th, 2015 | by Allan Brown0
EIFF 2015: Len and Company Review
Movie Review: Len and Company (2015)
Running Time: 102 mins
Director: Tim Godsall
Writer: Tim Godsall, Katharine Knight
Cast: Juno Temple, Kathryn Hahn, Rhys Ifans, Keir Gilchrist, Jack Kilmer
Adapted from Carly Mensch’s 2008 stage play; Len, Asleep In Vinyl, comes Tim Godsall’s accomplished début feature; Len and Company.
When not idling his days away watching episodes of The Sweeny or setting traps to catch the “invasion” of raccoons on his property, Len (Rhys Ifans) can be found enjoying the casual embrace of the cold and rank water that inhabits his “back-to-nature” style swimming pool – complete with weeds, algae and pond life more commonly found in a flee infested bog. In truth, Len just wants to be left alone, allowed the time to enjoy some peace and quiet, and for once, to hear himself think. Despite being one of the most successful music producers in the industry, Len, by his own admission, is “a bit of a c*nt”. However, when his estranged son Max (Jack Kilmer) and pop-princess protégé; Zoe (Juno Temple), make an unexpected visit to his country hideaway, Len soon finds himself on a slow journey of self-discovery, as this tangled drama begins to unfold.
While it has its feet firmly planet in indie flick sensibilities, it’s subtly in its quieter moments – delivered by three pitch perfect performances and an intelligent screenplay – allows Len and Company to become so much more than just another hipster flick, or quirky comedy.
Juno Temple truly embodies the role of feisty (everything is awesome) pop princess Zoe. She is loud, unpredictable and on the verge of a serious breakdown, and Temple relishes every minute of it. Her characters nature is everything Len’s is not, so to see these characters inhabit the same space at the same time, leads to some hilarious and utterly captivating exchanges. Jack Kilmer builds on his strengths showcased in Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto in 2013. He not only brings a gentle vulnerability to the character of Max, but displays a wealth of subtle emotion without the need for dialogue or exposition. He is indeed a rising star, and most certainly one to watch. However, it is Rhys Ifans performance that really steals the show. His grizzled rock n roll chic and I couldn’t give a shit demeanour, is wonderfully realised by Ifans who utterly smashes the role that could have easily been written for him.
Despite this being Godsall’s directorial début, he shows tremendous skill and restraint in his refusal to never sugar-coat the drama, or allow it to fall into the depths of melodrama – which could have easily been the case given the dynamics and character arc – and the film is all the better for it.
Summary: A tight screenplay and three wonderfully rich performances, elevates this little indie drama into something much more rewarding.