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Telling harsh truths about the modern music business, this riveting and award-winning documentary gives intimate access to singer/actor Jared Leto ("Requiem for a Dream," "Dallas Buyers ... See full summary »
Deck the Halls
Traditional tune, lyrics by Thomas Oliphant (uncredited)
Arranged by Daniel May
Performed by Daniel May, Benjamin May, and Gary Gibbons
Published by Revision West (BMI)
Courtesy of MasterSource See more »
flawed is putting it mildly - it's a lump of a movie
Chapter 27 was conceived by its first-time writer/director as a way of showing the final two days of Mark David Chapman's existence before he plugged six bullets into John Lennon. Perhaps he thought going in to it that he would get a stirring and harrowing chronicle of this man's madness, but what he didn't figure on, apparently at any point in writing the script, was giving us a story or any kind of real sense of who Chapman was aside from a mumbling nut-case obsessed with Catcher in the Rye. According to reports, yes, he was attached to that Salinger book a lot, and yes he loomed around the hotel Lennon was staying at.
But Scahefer misses any real chances to make the character compelling by sidestepping what is actually interesting about him- his past, only hinted at, with his wife and his time spent teaching Vietnamese children, being raised in a strict Christian upbringing apparently- for 84 minutes of the same muddled, pretentious beat over and over again. Since when was assassination this boring? And the blame on how bad this movie is can be spread out. Some of it is truly the Schaefer's fault just on the design of the narration. Sometimes narration can be really effective (I kept thinking back to the Informant, another movie about a mentally unbalanced individual with an inner-monologue as a prime example), but here it's nothing except dull diatribes and complaining and waxing and waning on how he feels or thinks that has nothing to say about Chapman himself or anything interesting about his situation.
And some of the blame falls on Jared Leto. Packing on the pounds simply is not enough, not when the character is the same lump of a presence in the entire running time and we're left with absolutely nothing to feel for him except hate - not even so much for his impending crime but for his construction as a character- and while his voice isn't terribly annoying when acting in scenes, it's somehow unbearable in the narration. It's a colossal waste of listening space.
Some of the other actors do try, but are also left slim pickings. Lindsay Lohan doesn't do too terrible, but that's considering what little of her character, another Lennon fan hanging out at the hotel, is revealed as. There's also a question, barely answered, as to why she wants to be around this loose cannon, who never once gives the impression of stability even in casual conversation (i.e. "I hate movies" dialog). Judah Freidlander fares a little better, but he too is only on screen so long as to just play a one note character the best way he can. And yet it says a lot that an actor like Leto, who can be talented and show range as in Requiem for a Dream or Panic Room, is reduced to being upstaged by his fellow performers who seemingly have less to do than him.
The movie made me angry at how it unfolded, because there was no progression of anything. I kept thinking about how much of a better, or just more fascinating, story it could be showing how Chapman developed into this deranged and lonely persona, or even just giving us more to chew on about his life before his notorious act. It's telling a situation before a story, and one that, surprisingly, is dull and meandering and, often, laughably ill-conceived in every facet of production. I almost weeped at the end not because of a sense of loss for Lennon, or for the soul brought down forever due to his own madness as Chapman, but because I had to endure a filmmaker's lack of having anything to really say, and saying it poorly, pretentiously, and with a lack of respect for the audience.
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