home All London Film Festival 2010: “Let Me In” and “Lemmy”

London Film Festival 2010: “Let Me In” and “Lemmy”

[rating=3]

On the surface, “Let Me In” is the perfect metaphor for the Hollywood vampires draining the life from the corpse of youthful, vibrant, European filmmaking before the blood has cooled. Like the recent evolution of the nosferatu in cinema or on television, the infection spreads too quickly – the English-language remake of “Let The Right One In” rising from the cutting room floor to take sinister refuge in the darkness of the multiplex.

Not that there’s anything wrong with waking the dead – but then again, one should at least give their friends, family and close audience members some time to mourn their passing. Let them celebrate the good times and the bad, committing a film’s short life to their memory. As Fred Madison so neatly puts it in “Lost Highway,” “I like to remember things my own way,” and when challenged on this by a cop he elaborates, “How I remembered them. Not necessarily the way they happened.”

Remaking a movie at breakneck speed is a dangerous exercise. The memories of the original are too fresh in the mind for the remake to have a chance to strike out on its own and make its fortune. The comparisons are too raw and some fans of “Let The Right One In” will react like grieving children who have just discovered their dad has replaced their dead mother with a bimbo just weeks after her death. And don’t get lovers of the novel started…

Was “Let The Right One In” that good in the first place? We shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but we shouldn’t set them up as Saints either. Sure it was elegantly shot and the two child leads were mesmerising, but was it that ground-breaking? Hadn’t we seen it somewhere all before? Vampire kids at windows-“Salem’s Lot” and even “The Lost Boys.” Vampire kids in need of companionship-“Near Dark” and “Interview With The Vampire.” Hold on a minute, it was in Swedish. Of course it had to be good.

“Let Me In” is a perfectly functional film, reverential to its source material (the film rather than the book) with, wait for it, two mesmerising performances from its child leads. Some suspect CGI detracts from the stark narrative of a friendship developing akin to “My Bodyguard” between boy and vampire in a freezing New Mexico backwater. This is never an equal friendship, but the calculated grooming of a young boy by an ancient being trapped in a youthful body.

“Let Me In” may be set in the 80sб before the wonder and the threat of the Internetб but the vampire Abby is the electronic paedophile made flesh. It poses as a twelve-year-old girl to lure the troubled Owen away from his family to a lifetime of emotional and physical abuse. Predators prey on the vulnerable and we only have to look at Abby’s “Father” to see the fate in store for the gullible and naive Owen. “Let Me In” is no love story and in that sense it works just as well as its “illustrious” predecessor.

[rating=4]

Moving right on to yet another legend – apparently Lemmy, front man of Motorhead, has been described as “The Greatest Living Englishman.” I don’t know about that, but I do know he once held a door open for me on the Dover to Calais ferry. He stood there as polite as can be, a Nazi Cowboy with impeccable manners. All I could say was, “After you Lemmy” and let him go first.

I’ve never been a Heavy Metal fan, it all seemed a tad too dirty, once a casual always a casual. I’ve always appreciated the f*ck-offness of it all, though. The sheer dedication to the music and their heroes, never once wavering from the cause, never selling out, never compromising-some metal stayed metal when most rap tempered.

“Lemmy” follows “The Godfather of Heavy Metal” over three years of his life. Now an L.A. resident, swigging Jack and Coke and smoking Marlboro Reds in The Rainbow Bar & Grill, Ian Fraser Kilmister has been welcomed with open arms by the Californian rock fraternity. Led by Dave Grohl and Metallica, the great and good queue up to worship at the hand made jackboots of “the antidote to Simon Cowell and all the evil music he purveys.”

What’s striking about these multi-millionaires fawning over their hero is just how much richer they are than him. Of course they admire his hardcore determination to do everything on his terms, they bow and scrape when he enters the recording studio or goes on stage with them, but would they really give up their wads of cash to keep it real? The most telling moment is when Billy Bob Thornton, that self-proclaimed Hollywood outlaw, tells Lemmy about the millions he made from various films. Poor old Lemmy who has been rocking for 35 years replies, “I’m still working on my first million.”

It’s doubtful that Grohl and Thornton pop round to Lemmy’s rented apartment for a cup of tea let alone booze and a fag. Not that you could find anything amongst the clutter, his home a cross between Santa’s grotto and a Nazi gift shop. SS daggers pepper the walls like steel rain, Sven Hassel chic from top to bottom blended with tour memorabilia. Lemmy has always denied being a Nazi sympathiser, his argument two-fold, “I’ve had six black girlfriends” is a standard line, but perhaps more honestly, “If the Israelis had the best uniforms I’d collect them.”

As a raconteur Lemmy is priceless, charming and warm, and when the music is featured there is no denying his passion or power. The guest spot on the Metallica tour is blistering, but between the smoke, tanks and quiz machines is a tragic, melancholy tale of loneliness. Lemmy says his most precious possession is his son but he had to forgo family life to pursue his heavy metal dream. It was a choice he said he made. The sex and drugs and rock and roll are always at the heart of what Lemmy does yet he tells us, “I don’t want to advertise a lifestyle that killed so many of my friends.” Contradictory? Yes. Fascinating? Absolutely.