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The Beatle Fan is a drama about Albert, a psychotic prisoner who is a devoted fan of John Lennon and the Beatles. Albert is goaded by the other prisoners in the cells around him into ... See full summary »
Danny A. Gonzales
Nonfiction drama about Lennon's killer is very well made
I saw this movie at the 2007 International Film Festival of Rotterdam. The director was present at the screening for a Q&A. I saw a finished cut, "straight from the Avid", but with at least partly a temp soundtrack.
Plot summary: This is a dramatized telling of the events surrounding the murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman. Chapman (Jonas Ball) is the central character here. We follow his footsteps in the months before and after the killing.
I have recently seen the documentary The US vs John Lennon (2006), It filled a gap in my knowledge about Lennon in the 70's.
This movie, "The Killing of John Lennon" is not a documentary, rather a nonfiction drama. It answers some of the questions about Lennon's death that I still had ofter seeing "The US..." The challenge with this type of story is of course: how do you keep a movie interesting when the protagonist is so obviously not a very nice character. I like how this was handled here. There is a good balance between keeping a healthy emotional distance from this criminal, while keeping things interesting. Ted Demme's"Blow" (2001), a similar type of movie about a famous drugs criminal did not have this balance,. I think, where "The Killing..." does.
Director Andrew Piddington states in the opening titles "All of Mark David Chapman's words are his own." This is important to know, I think, because we get to hear Chapman's words during most of the movie. In dialogs and in voice-over as he recalls the events. It is clear that Piddington has put a lot of research into this, though , He obviously used other sources besides Chapman's testimony.
The end result is a well-made film. Jonas Ball is almost constantly on-screen, and he gives a very believable performance.
Even though this was (as the director told later) made with a very low budget, it feels very well produced and expensive. The creation of the time period is very well done. The cinema scope photography is flawless. I also liked the score, but what I heard was at least partly a temporary soundtrack. E,g, for scenes in the car and taxicab a piece from "The Thin Red Line" (composer Hans Zimmer) was used. The director said this would not be in the final film.
The only flaw that I can see, is that after 3/4 of the movie, it started to feel a bit longish. All in all a very worthwhile watch: 8/10.
Screenplay Trivia: The movie was made without cooperation by Chapman (or Ono, for that matter. All of Chapman's testimonies are public, so that was used to get Chapman's words.
Production Trivia: The entire project took 4 years to realize. Much of that went into research and getting financing.
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