I'll admit that my own familiarity with the metal band Pentagram was limited to their album covers until last year when I saw LAST DAYS HERE at SXSW. I liked it so much I went back twice and I ran into co-programmer Zack Carlson both times. Zack even went so far as to call it his favorite documentary ever. And sure enough it is a moving, highly charged story of individualism, love, hope, second chances and brutally hard, intense metal music.
When we first meet Pentagram singer Bobby Liebling in this film he seems like the ultimate doomed fuck-up. He looks like a corpse that has forgotten to stop breathing. While the camera rolls he hunts for tiny pebbles of crack in the carpet in his parents' basement. He is a human wreck, having pissed away sure stardom and burned anything resembling a bridge in his life, even as he made decades worth of brilliant music.
By the time young metal fan Sean "Pellet" Pelletier discovers him, it really looks like Liebling is too far gone to save. To make matters worse he has little will to go on. But Pellet loves Liebling's music so much he will not give up, even where 99% of us would. The astonishing story of Liebling's journey back from almost certain death and the saintlike Pellet's determination to help him and get him back on stage again is hugely affecting.
This is the kind of movie that flies completely under the radar. It won't get 1% of the attention that even the newest Jason Statham garbage will receive. But there are no better characters than these and no better story than this on any screen in Austin this week. If you go to the movies to feel and learn something new, be sure to see LAST DAYS HERE while you can.
LAST DAYS HERE plays April 20th-26th at Alamo S. Lamar. Get tickets here.