If anybody out there makes it a point to read my reviews then you should know all about my troubles with that dreaded made-up word of mine, anticipointment. Yes, that horrible feeling of seeing a movie that in your mind should be the best of the bunch, only to have it crash and burn and have your dreams lay scattered at your feet. I will be adding a new film to my growing roster of cinema, the biopic Chapter 27. Never heard of Chapter 27, well don’t feel bad because it’s actually not out in theaters yet. I caught this awhile back and have been debating on whether to write a review about it since it has yet to actually confirm a release date. But all’s fair in movie reviewing as I say so here we go.
Chapter 27 deals with the story of Mark David Chapman (Jared Leto), the infamous murderer of music legend John Lennon. Chapman has come to NYC all the way from Hawaii to meet his music legend. Once there he constantly hears voices in his head telling him to do dark things, and eventually we see what comes to fruition from those thoughts. He also has an encounter with the young Jude (Lindsay Lohan), a fellow Beatles fan who gives Chapman some companionship in the days ahead. If you’ve ever heard about John Lennon then obviously you already know the ending to Chapter 27 but the road to get to that ending is filled with many off-beat things.
I did find it interesting, first off, that the title of the film is Chapter 27. The film deals a lot with Chapman’s obsession with J.D. Salinger novel “The Catcher in the Rye” which has 26 chapters, this movie being the so called “last chapter” to all that paranoia. The film does do a good job of highlighting the time period that everybody is living in. NYC of the early 80’s is shown as an incredibly eclectic place. The clothing was the most interesting for me as everybody’s fashion choices tow the line between 70’s style and the incoming style of the 80’s. The movie also does a good job of making everything seem logical. While the film is purely conjecture as nobody truly knows why Chapman did what he did, the movie makes a good idea of giving you plenty of motivation as to why Chapman did it and how he came to be at the Dakota building on that day. You also learn more about Chapman the man. In his interactions with Jude he comes off as incredibly nervous and completely horrible with women. While it is hard to sympathize with him at times knowing that he will become a murderer, you do learn quite a bit about his personality.
In reading the various movie reviews about Chapter 27 I was surprised to see it get mostly positive reviews. Many of the sites do say it is slow and doesn’t answer a lot of questions (a point I’ll get to in a minute), I just felt that this had a lot missing that ruined my enjoyment. First off, the pace, is incredibly slow. It is very much a talking heads movie, and a lot of time it’s simply Chapman talking to the audience. Most people do want to see his interactions with John Lennon, which comes at the end, but by that time I was so bored I just really wasn’t interested. I also felt that Jude’s character was unnecessary. As much as I enjoy Lindsay Lohan and her movies (and yes I did enjoy Georgia Rule) I just felt she came off the requisite love interest that would try to convince Chapman not to do what he did. The film also does not answer a lot of questions, a point that has been made in many reviews as being the director’s decision. I would have liked a little more insight at the end but I did understand that nobody truly understood, to this day, Mark David Chapman’s motivations so I just let it slide.
The performances really did save this movie for me. While I’m not a Jared Leto fan I did think he turned in a good performance with this movie. He gained between 60-70 pounds for the role and he does come off as a good psycho. He has the tendency to come off as incredibly annoying, which might have been the point, but other than that he was great. Lindsay Lohan was also good to see in her role. She played a wonderful woman of the times and I enjoyed her performance immensely.
Other than that I don’t really have anything else to say about Chapter 27. Even now I truly don’t know if I enjoyed it or hated it. When it comes out I will go see it again to see if maybe I lost something in the translation so who knows, I could come back saying it’s the best movie of the year. In the meantime, I’ll just say it’s an odd film that isn’t for everyone.