Published Feb 17, 2011To the world of rockers, Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister needs about as much introduction as Satan. If you don't know who this handlebar-moustachioed modern cowboy is, you're a hopeless damage case.
Carving out an initial musical career with the likes of space rockers Hawkwind before being ejected and creating Motörhead in 1975, Lemmy's bludgeoning bass guitar and gravel-gargling throat helped inspire both the punk rock and heavy movements/sub-genres. Moreover, with a take-no-prisoners attitude and refusal to bend under pressure, over the past 35 years he has become the poster-beast for the real holy trinity of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.
Endeavouring to honour the man's legacy and influence on everyone from Metallica and Slayer to Billy Bob Thornton and countless heshers across the globe, as well as showcasing the reality behind "living the dream" for a half-century (counting every band he's been in), Lemmy peeks inside the life and times of this inimitable character.
Throughout the flick, we witness various pinpointed encounters from approximately two years of his life, exploring his vast military collectibles, seeing a recording session/interviews, watching some personal time with his son or friends, rounded out by testimonials and reminiscences from colleagues such as Nikki Sixx and Dave Grohl to cast-offs such as Kat Von D.
Interesting but far from crucial, Lemmy is clearly a hands-off documentary made by fans, not investigative journalists. There's little digging or peeling back the layers beyond what one would ostensibly garner from reading a few interviews and possibly hanging around the man for more than a handshake's duration.
On an adoring level, however, it works wonderfully. The balance of watching his straight-talk and primal live performances juxtaposed with a cluttered apartment and vignettes of his daily life is an interesting view into the mystery of this eternal enigma, even to those with a modest appreciation. Still, at two hours, one would have hoped for a few more instances of sage wisdom and his perspective on the hopes, expectations and realities of his existence.
Instead, we are privy to, but not enamoured by, endless exaltations of his deity status from adorers, discussions of resounding influence and the occasional candid quip. That said, when the live footage hits, his Marshall stack fires up and we catch the man at what he does best – driving his coarse voice and buzz saw bass into our ears – there's no denying that Lemmy has its thrills. (Mongrel Media)