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After background about the childhood and youth of John Lennon (1940-1980) and the birth of Vietnam-War protests, the film plunges into Lennon's quest for world peace: compositions such as "Give Peace a Chance", the lie-in following his marriage to Yoko Ono, appearances at concerts, "War Is Over" posters, and plans for a series of concerts in 1972 in U.S. presidential primary states reach newly-enfranchised young voters. This plan for concerts, in particular, led a prominent Senator, the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover, and Nixon's White House to initiate a concerted and illegal effort to deport Lennon. Thirty talking heads, led by Yoko, comment on Lennon and these events. Written by
Veers off-course sometimes, but still very good documentary
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During the 1960s, John Lennon was one part of The Beatles, still almost certainly the most successful British band today. But it was also the time of the Vietnam war and of the 'flower power' generation, which he got very much caught up in, much to the furore of the Nixon administration. This film follows John's escapades during this time, from his peace activist activities, his romance with conceptual artist Yoko Ono who showed him some far-out methods of drawing attention to his cause, his 'stay in bed' crusade after the failure of flower power, his support of the Black Panthers, his far out views on materialism and spirituality and, of course, the Nixon administration's paranoia about his influence on the youth of America at the time, which lead to them tapping his phone and having him followed and, eventually, attempting to get him deported on a bullsh!t possession of marijuanna charge.
Although many of Nixon's worries concerning Lennon were probably a load of hot air, it's doubtless the huge role the man played in inspiring a generation of young people to adopt the ideals of peace and love for your fellow man, which the Nixon administration, hell-bent on sending many young men off to die for a cause they didn't understand let alone believe in, was understandably rattled about. And so it's an interesting idea to make a documentary like this, highlighting the huge influence the man had and the increasingly drastic steps that were taken to try and put a dent in it. Talking heads include figures from the FBI, those caught up in the peace demonstrations, a platoon leader in Vietnam as well as Yoko Ono herself and the then leader of the Black Panthers. It all makes for a very interesting and revealing expose of events involving Lennon at the time, and it all plays out in much this way too. The one problem is that it veers off course from the source material at the time in some parts, leaving the theme of Nixon's harassment of Lennon and playing more like your typical biography of Lennon's life and, in turn, becomes a little meandering and boring, especially towards the end.
Nonetheless, it certainly doesn't fail as a documentary and still maintains an interesting and relevant theme through-out that Lennon enthusiasts and others as well will be very interested in seeing. ***
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