Len Black (Rhys Ifans) is an aging rock star/ producer who has shut himself off from friends, family and the industry by hiding away in his upstate New York home and ignoring everything except his old TV shows on DVD. Unwelcome company comes first in the form of his son (Jack Kilmer) and then Zoe (Juno Temple), a drug addled pop star he helped create. In Len and Company, just as much screen time and significance is given to Len’s company as Len himself, but it’s Ifans’ performance that really makes this film worth watching.
In the film’s funniest scene, Len gives an abbreviated version of his life story to a high school class, complete with swearing, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Not only is it hilarious, but it gives you great insight into why he is how he is. Starting with nothing then achieving great fame and fortune while alienating loved ones has left Len feeling empty. These feelings manifest themselves in the character in different ways, but Len ultimately seems like a harmless wealthy eccentric. You wouldn’t want him as a father, but on film he makes for a great antihero.
As a character piece set primarily in one location, it’s not surprising that Len and Company was adapted from a stage play (called “Len, Asleep in Vinyl”). It’s a strong debut from commercial director Tim Godsall and even though the indie dramedy schtick feels a little stale at times, you never stop wanting to see what Len does next. Ultimately, it’s not a film about great epiphanies, it’s about making things a little better, and that’s alright.
FRI SEP 18 4:30 PM @ Elgin/Winter Garden Theatres Winter Garden Theatre