MY NAME IS LENNY, is a compelling and fixating story about the life of Lenny McClean, who was a leading figure in the bare-knuckle fraternity in the UK, THE GUV’NOR as he liked to be called was said to have taken part in over 4000 fights and moved in circles that included the more notorious and seedy sides of the London criminal underworld. Directed by film maker Ron Scalpello, MY NAME IS LENNY stars Josh Helman in the title role, Helman of course found favour with cinema audiences in his acting roles in movies such as MAD MAX FURY ROAD and turned in a convincing and memorable portrayal of Commander Stryker in the newer editions of the X-MEN pictures. McClean became an iconic figure within the British fighting fraternity and even made an appearance in Guy Ritchie’s LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, where the fighter made the role of Barry the Baptist his own. Ron Scalpello’s movie shows us the story and background of McClean the man, and the legend he became. Composer Ian Arber has created a musical score that is just as powerful and riveting as the movie itself, Arber is a rising star in the world of film and TV music and has already fashioned memorable and commanding soundtracks for numerous projects which include, documentaries, such as I AM BOLT and SIR MO FARAH (Mo Farah no easy mile). He also acted as musical assistant to Joe Kraemer on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE-ROGUE NATION, and provided the music for BBC 2, s QUACKS. MY NAME IS LENNY, contains a soundtrack that is a combination of conventional instrumentation and synthetic or electronic sounds and samples. The opening theme, on the release MY NAME IS LENNY(suite) has to it a style and sound that is not unlike Hans Zimmer, now we all know how I feel personally about Zimmer’s scores of late, but in this case, I am using him as an example to describe to you the construction of this particular piece, it is basically a four or five note motif that is repeated over and over, with momentum gathering as the composer flesh’s out the theme adding textures and layers giving the piece a commanding persona and a sound that is powerful and haunting, the theme builds and builds gaining volume, then as quickly as it reaches its crescendo of sorts moves into a quieter and more calming interlude, in many ways it has affiliations with Zimmer’s TIME theme, from INCEPTION. As in it begins low and brooding and then opens out into an expansive piece, which, has the ability to make one want to return to it as soon as it has finished. The remainder of the score is constructed from mainly electronic performances of the composer’s compositions, which are for most of the time tense and quite urgent sounding, but there is a guitar solo and plaintive piano present at key points which adds a certain amount of melancholy and emotion to the proceedings. This hint of a theme accompanies Lenny’s girlfriend Val in the movie and is an acknowledgement of her influence upon the fighter.
There is also a rock sounding segment, with fuzzy sounding guitar, enhanced by percussion, both of which work in unison in the cue COME BACK TO ME, the two being hard to separate at times as they are complimenting each other so well. The composer does make effective use of percussive elements throughout the score which at times we are told were made up of the sounds of boxing gloves hitting their target, which is an ingenious and highly creative move on the part of the composer, I suppose this can be compared to Jerry Goldsmith’s synthesised percussion in HOOSIERS that mimicked the sound of a bouncing basketball in many of the on-court scenes that the composer enhanced. This percussive support in MY NAME IS LENNY, punctuates and underlines various instrumentation, both conventional and otherwise, giving it not only support, but also adding depth to the work as a whole and in my opinion becoming the driving heart of the soundtrack. There is a mood or atmosphere of apprehension and darkness throughout the score, that is maintained via the use of a simple guitar rift if that is the correct terminology, the composer also making affecting utilisation of distorted sounds and a grossly distorted cello which represents Lenny’s abusive stepfather, these elements add even more tension and uncertainty to the style and sound of the music, thus adding more colour and more layers to the work. The opening theme returns briefly in a few cues but does not fully develop until we reach track number, 11 THE DECIDER, when it is a more triumph sounding version, and again in the final cue THE GUV’NOR, which is slightly more subdued and emotional, piano adding a tinge of sadness and giving the final track a low key melodic foundation. Overall, I did enjoy listening to the score and discovering the musical colours and textures of Ian Arber, the composer seems to have a unique approach to scoring movies and works with a varied line up of artists, which have included the hip hop performer NAS, and David Rowntree the drummer from BLUR on his score for I AM BOLT. I look forward to more of his work, soon. Soundtrack available on Movie Score Media.