THE KILLING OF JOHN LENNON

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The Killing of John Lennon Cover Have you ever wondered what drives one person with the need to kill someone else? Do you think it's genetic, perhaps? Or even encouraged? Better yet, could it possibly be something illustrated within this 114 minute movie made in 2010? It was Directed by Andrew Piddington; and Starred: Jonas Ball with Mie Omori.


The Killing of John Lennon


THE STORY:
All my life my family have never shown me any love or attention. Go on. You just ask my poor wife Gloria (Mie Omori), and she'd tell you how my parents cared more about their lifestyle than they did their own son, Mark David Chapman (Jonas Bell).

The books always cared for me, though. Or to be more specific about it, two books in particular.

Now the first one was a J.D. Salinger novel called ‘A Catcher in the Rye’, and it taught me about hypocrites and liers polluting mankind. Where as another book showed me what I should do with my life next. It was a book about the Beatles, and it told me to kill John Lennon.

No. Not straight away mind you. Despite scouting the local area as soon as I touched down in New York City, somehow my devilish yearnings were abated when I watched a film called ‘Ordinary People’, curbing my inner most desires just long enough to step back onto a plane again and return home.

However, my respite was short lived. And a couple of week’s later I was back in New York more determined than ever to kill John Lennon with a simple five phase plan. Hotel. Prostitute. Shrine. Statement. And once more I knew what I needed to do to get close enough to John so I could... could... kiii... ki... k...

Hmmm. That's most probably why what next transpires all goes from bad to worse when I ask a noted musician for his autograph. As a killing is cast in immortal stone - an aftermath is chilling like a refrigerated bone - a court trial is strewn with trouble and strife - and at the end of the day, ultimately a murderer gets sentenced to life.




THE REVIEW:
As I've already written two movie reviews relating to the life and times of John Lennon, I then asked myself if I should now attempt one relating to his death. Well. Let's face it. Isn't a film like 'The Killing of John Lennon' somehow exploitative because of the money people are making off of its back? But having said that, though, when someone makes a film about World War Two or even Vietnam, can’t the said-same question also be applied?

Jonas Ball in The Killing of John Lennon
Yes. Of course it can. Yet in this case I like to think that this 'real life drama' at least tries to explain why Mark felt the need to kill John. Furthermore, it also delves inside his mental state too. Trying to convey to people why he killed one of the greatest musicians in recording history.

Aesthetically it attempted to do this in a number of different ways. One of those ways was through voice over narration which did sound somewhat garbled at times. Another technique it employed was to selectively fracture the screen in a psychological manner. Whilst the last cosmetic ploy it utilized was by showing archive footage of that specific period, thus presenting to all in sundry that this event actually happened, and grounded it into some sort of reality.

In my opinion all of these 'artistic flourishes' elevated this picture from being too exploitative to being fairly expansive. If the makers of this movie really wanted to make money off of the back of John Lennon’s death, I'm sure they could have done it by hiring more well known actors, or by glamorizing certain scenes which adder to that particular market. But no. Instead they took a dubious subject matter and then transformed it into the noted sub-genre, 'Diary of a Serial Killer', whilst highlighting a psychosis and a crime in the process.

On top of that I best mention how I didn't mind watching Jonas' portrayal of Mark throughout this flick. I have to admit that on occasion his acting style was somewhat mannered for my own tastes. Yet in the same breath I did like his menacing yet naturalistic hold on this character. And never once did I see Jonas break free from his own methodology.   


John Lennon and Mark David Chapman


John Lennon - Death of a hero tabloid paper
Now normally at this stage of my review I present to you some filmic facts. This time though I thought I'd do something different and present you facts relating to John Lennon's eminent killer. Here. Please check this out. (1) Mark David Chapman was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on the 10th of May, 1955. (2) His Dad, David Curtis Chapman, was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, whereas his Mum, Kathryn Elizabeth Pease, was a nurse. He only had one sister though. Her name was Susan, and she was born in 1962. (3) Mark was a 'Born Again Christian', and when he was younger he distributed Biblical literature to people living in his neighborhood. (4) After graduating from Columbia High School, Mark moved to Chicago for a short while and played guitar in numerous Christian places of worship. (5) Whilst he was at college Mark started exhibiting suicidal tendencies. This was exacerbated even more so when he became obsessed with a fellow christian named Jessica Blankenship, inadvertently prompting him to fall behind in his studies. (6) At one point in his life he was employed by 'World Vision' and worked in a Vietnamese refugee resettlement camp, at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. (7) Mark once met President Gerald Ford when he was hired as an area coordinator for a children's care center. (8) Inspired by the film, 'Around the World in Eighty Days', in 1978 Mark went around the world and visited such places as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok, Delhi, Beirut, Geneva, London, Dublin, and Paris. (9) On the 2nd of June, 1979, Mark got married to his Japanese travel agent, Gloria Abe, before settling down in Hawaii.


Jonas Ball in The Killing of John Lennon


Overall I'd say 'The Killing of John Lennon' is a well packaged slice of real cinema, and it was presented and conveyed in a very artistic and innovative way. Try to think of it as a 'serial-killer movie' made by Picasso or someone else of that note. Right, Mark?




Second thoughts, who cares what you think, you git? Good film, despite being somewhat garbled in places.

Nuff said.

THE RATING: B