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Mark David Chapman (Jared Leto) books into the YMCA near Central Park on December 6, 1980, but soon moves to a better hotel. He waits to see John Lennon coming or going from his Dakota apartment on Central Park West, and meets Jude (Lindsay Lohan), with whom he shares a coffee. All the while his internal world is in turmoil as he becomes more disoriented and unbalanced as he clutches a copy of The Catcher in the Rye, with whose protagonist, Holden Caulfield, he closely identifies. After getting Lennon's autograph on the album cover of his newly purchased copy of Lennon's new album, Double Fantasy, Chapman waits in the building's entrance for Lennon's return, arguing with himself in his head about his plans. He asks the devil's help - and gets it.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
'On the surface I was an autograph seeker but underneath I was a boiling cauldron of rage ... but nobody could tell a goddam thing.' So says Chapman (Jared Leto) in his narration at one stage in the film, confirming what we know. The film, based on recollections and other material in Jack Jones' book, Let Me Take You down, attempts to peer into Chapman's twisted mind in the days leading up to the infamous shooting of Lennon on December 8, 1980.

Trivia fans will note that Mark David Chapman's victim, John Lennon, is played in the film by Mark Lindsay Chapman. Even though we hardly see him, that's about the most memorable element of this film, which should be fascinating but is somehow empty of insight. It could have been entirely manufactured for all the depth there is, but perhaps the greatest truth of it is that we can never peer inside such a mind. The eternal question of why Chapman shot Lennon is not answered. And that's probably because there IS no real reason.

Jared Leto does a great job channelling Chapman - gaining lots of weight to do so physically - and his creation is somewhat haunting. Lindsay Lohan has a thankless and tiny role as a fan who stumbles across Chapman, but it's Leto centre stage and full on throughout the film. There are some who think it's tasteless for showing us a hypothetical point of view from inside Chapman's mind, but whether we agree with that or not (I don't) the film is less satisfying or cathartic than expected.

Published July 17, 2008

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(US/Canada, 2007)

CAST: Jared Leto, Judah Friedlander, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Mariko Takai

PRODUCER: Alexandra Milchan, Naomi Despres, Robert Salerno

DIRECTOR: J. P. Schaefer

SCRIPT: J. P. Schaefer (book Let Me Take You Down by Jack Jones)


EDITOR: Andrew Hafitz, Jim Makiej

MUSIC: Anthony Marinelli


RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes


DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: July 17, 2008

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