Len and Company is a 102 min long offering from Director Tim Godsall, enjoying its Australian Premiere. Earmarked for audiences over 15 years of age, it stars the formidable Rhys Ifans, supported by the talented Juno Temple. Ifans is Len, an ageing punk rocker turned music producer, doing a Greta Garbo "I vant to be alone" on his rural property. A drop out from the rock rat race, his desire falls on deaf ears when his son Max turns up. An uneasy relationship, Max is just looking for the right moment to get his father's opinion about his demo tape.
Following hot on Max's heels is Len's newest protege, Zoe, also trying to get away from the trappings of being the 'rock chick'. His peace shattered, Len seethed, "My sanctuary's been invaded by needy little piglets". Dealing with his 'surrogate-like' son and general around the house handyman and schoolboy William is a far easier road to travel.
Welsh actor and musician Ifans has always delighted and played diverse characters from Danny Deckchair to the Lizard in a Spiderman sequel. He shines no less as Len, the rude and self-absorbed ageing rocker who has dropped off the radar. He is the strongest character in this film and he manages to draw your affection in spite of his surly character. That takes some skill!
Young pop star Zoe, played by Juno Temple, attracts a bit of an eyebrow raising moment when she convincingly rips into Len, yet manages to maintain a semblance of a relationship intact. You need to give this film a bit more time to come to the boil, as Ifans carries it from strength to strength, developing his character like a fine wine. It's not all doom and gloom in this low-key study of strained relationships. Ifan's monologue at a local school to a class of teens about his rock career is not to be missed!
Check out the website for other films at the American Essential Film Festival 2017.