Monday, October 19, 2009

The Killing of John Lennon (2006)

This dark movie  tries to get inside the eerie mind of Mark David Chapman and dramatize the three months leading up to his assassination of John Lennon. Chapman (Jonas Ball), a mentally unstable 25-year-old married cab driver in Honolulu, Hawaii, doesn't connect well with people. He reads A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. He becomes obsessed with the book, relating so much to Holden Caulfield, the book's protagonist, due to his own feelings of isolation.

Then, Chapman develops a hatred for John Lennon, citing Lennon's request for people to live free of their possessions while himself owning several homes, farms and a yacht. His hatred simmers as he purchases a .38 revolver and flies New York City to carry out the shooting. He goes to the Dakota (where Lennon lived at the time) and asked around about Lennon, but Lennon appears to be out of town. After seeing a screening of Ordinary People, Chapman is affected by the film; so much so, he has a change of heart about his plan to kill Lennon. He calls his wife, Gloria (Mie Omori), in Hawaii and tells her he is coming home.

Once back in Honolulu, his bliss is short-lived. Fifteen days later, he's on a plane back to NYC to carry out his original plan to murder Lennon. This time, Lennon is in town and Chapman is ready. He buys the Double Fantasy LP and returns to the Dakota to wait outside for Lennon, under the guise of getting his autograph. When Lennon shows up, he signs Chapman's record. Chapman doesn't strike and Lennon takes off in his limo. Chapman sticks around several hours until Lennon and Yoko return. Chapman shoots him five times. He stands outside the Dakota, reading A Catcher in the Rye, waiting for police to arrive. The movie continues until Chapman is convicted and sentenced. While running a bit long, you feel like you are inside Chapman's head ruminating along with his thoughts.

Chapman has been imprisoned since 1981. He's kept in solitary confinement as it is believed he would be killed if kept in the general prison population. He's been denied parole several times. Chapman's goal was to be renowned. He is quoted as saying, "I was nobody until I killed the biggest somebody on earth." This movie is a bittersweet victory because it's obvious tons of research and work went into it, yet Chapman still gets the notoriety he sought.

Director: Andrew Piddington

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Run time: 113 minutes

Scale: 3.5

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