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First of all, I'd kindly like to request that you'd excuse my English. To my own frustration it's still way too flawed and I have a feeling much of my comments get a 'not useful' for the grammatical errors, keep in mind that the large majority of Americans doesn't know a second language, I know 4.
'Chapter 27' stirred up a lot of Hollywood buzz, sadly enough more so for Leto's transformation than for the subject matter at hand. I bleak compared to a lot of the very fine reviewers here, but in my circle of friends I'm known for having some knowledge of cinema. I've usually got a nice, clean description for them when they consult me about a hot new movie, but in the case of 'Chapter 27' I was torn between these two: 'a missed opportunity' or 'compelling and a tour de force performance by Leto'. It let me down at first, seeing that I was expecting an insight in the mind of the infamous killer and some new useful info about the incident. Instead, what I saw can be considered pointless and trivial.
When I gave the movie another spin, I focused more on how well the film was as a technical piece of art, acting included since I consider it no more than device for the narrative. Just because the film turned in another direction than I, and I'm sure a big chunk of the audience with me, expected doesn't take any merit away from the movie itself as a piece of art. Some may argue that art must always be considered in relation with the contemporary society, the cultural relevance and so fort. I've always disagreed with that acclaimed point of view. Art can and does stand on itself, and always has. Seeing that there is no absolute truth, especially not in the media, besides what some may say the present and past media have shared their love for half truths and flat out lies. Well, seeing that there is no absolute universal truth, why can't 100% fictional art be as or more important (and relevant) than non-fictional. I do have a point, being that a movie, even one only loosely based on true events, can be of artistic value even though it is totally irrelevant to society. A definition which fits Chapter 27 pretty well. If the murder of John Lennon never had taken place and someone would produce a movie of such excellence people would be tripping over their own compliments praising this movie sky high.
Just as Chapter 27 could have been considered more interesting if it was a fictional work, so is it true the other way around. Michael Clayton comes to mind. The style of the movie, the way details were blurred as if they were unknown and couldn't be fictionalized lest the truth were bend. Now that is pretentious. Chapter 27 isn't at all. It may not take us deep into the mind of killer, but it does take us very deep into the mind of a lonely man. It must be a happy man, he who does not identify himself with Chapman in the slightest. His pain is recognizable for anyone, and he's never sympathized (in my opinion) but I connected with his character more than I would've thought was possible, for a 'monster' (that's debatable) as Caufield, oh sorry, Chapman.
Such an achievement is not to be taken lightly and this is why Chapter 27 manages to be interesting in the end, not a waste of time and not a failure!
As a last argument, I saved the best for last, I'll bring up Jared Leto. What a talented actor!!! I've had the pleasure of seeing many of his past performances, the one that sticks out most of course is 'Requiem For A Dream', Aronofsky's best movie so far but I have high hopes of him over-classing Requiem with a multi-Oscar winning masterpiece in the near future. Anyway, Leto's performance is nothing less than sensational. It's not just the weight gain, not even the superb way he has adopted mannerisms and a new way of talking and voice, but mainly it's in his eyes. A great director (I'm 99% sure it was Hitchcock) once said that a member of the audience should be able to follow a movie without a problem if it was muted, just by seeing the emotions in the actor's eyes. Well, I was never a big believer in that until recently, and Leto displays it magnificently. It's like the lights in his eyes went out in his depression, but there's a twinkle there too, the twinkle of growing insanity as he slowly slides deeper into his fantasy of being Holden Caufield. This is without a doubt one of the best performances I have seen in the last few months and worth more than a few lines in this review, but one can only describe excellence to a certain extent, brilliance is hard to explain.
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