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Overall Rating
1.79

Awesome: 5.26%
Worth A Look: 10.53%
Average: 10.53%
Pretty Bad: 5.26%
Total Crap68.42%

2 reviews, 7 user ratings


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Chapter 27
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by Erik Childress

"I'll Have A Fat Jordan Catalano On Rye. Hold The Story."
1 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: The death of John Lennon still resonates throughout both the world of music and politics as another ironic chapter of violence cutting through messages of peace and love. Conspiracy theorists can hold their own court to the government’s involvement of supplanting another lone nut as the responsible party, but as so succinctly exemplified in JFK, it keeps them from knowing and asking the most important question. Why? Destruction of the peace movement aside, why would a soft-spoken fan of the Beatles and born-again Christian make it his mission to gun down an icon on Dec. 8, 1980? If this is the answer you seek, then you have no conceivable reason to see J.P. Schaefer’s Chapter 27 which will likely make its own mark on history as the single most relentlessly self-conscious vanity project to ever be conceived.

Sacrificing for his art, Jared Leto gained an inordinate amount of weight to play Mark David Chapman. The opening moments of the film as he comes into focus for the first time is a bit of a stunner as we quickly realize that’s not a fat suit and we’ve almost been fooled into thinking this is footage of the actual Chapman. It’s a moment to certainly cherish in the film as it’s also the only moment anything comes into focus during the next 80 minutes.

Chapman has come to New York with a blurred motivation inside his obviously disturbed cranium. He’s bought a gun for the explicit purpose of using it on John Lennon. But he’s also a lifelong fan hoping to get an autograph. If Lennon were to refuse as such, at least that would be some kind of reason. But Chapman is confused, so he bides his time in his hotel room and out in front of the luxury Dakota residence of Lennon’s with all the other paparazzi and fans hoping for a look. One of them played by Lindsay Lohan is named...ready for this...Jude. And, yes, someone cries out for her twice and she should be afraid. Lennon’s words have given her such peace with the world that she’s willing to placate this high-pitched loon and hang with him, including the infamous reported moment when Chapman ran into young Sean hours before killing his dad.

Chapman’s motivations appear to be directly in tune with that of the film itself instead of the other way around. Schaefer includes little “wink, wink” moments that he’s aware of how audiences will distill his vision. Hey Jude, what do you think of Rosemary’s Baby?

JUDE: “it’s slow moving and nothing happens until the end.”

Thanks Jude and thank YOU, Mr. Schaefer – but that doesn’t begin to make it better. But the real question most of us should have for you is if Chapter 27 is about Chapman’s obsessions or your own? Is this the only way you could do your version of The Catcher in the Rye? By morphing Mark David Chapman and Holden Caufield into a single being, complete with enough inner monologuing to get Terrence Malick to rethink his entire filmography? And who is the real fixation here – J.D. Salinger or Martin Scorsese? Doubling up on shots of Leto’s pudge is not going to get him a Raging Bull Oscar any faster and the Taxi Driver approach to the material will only work if we have some manner of understanding or sympathy towards Chapman’s isolation from the world. This is more like a twisted reality show with a star completely out of touch from it.

Schaefer, like all of us, may never have the “why” we want from Chapman’s story, nor do want to shed an ounce of empathy for a man who distinguished the flame of a man who devoted the back half of his life to the very peace Chapman could not find in his own life. Say, there’s an angle to take. Better that than to give this murderer his GoodFellas moment, summing up his story as a confessional interview directly into the camera. The only bit of success Chapter 27 achieves, other than temporarily making Jared Leto unappealing to women, is that it reminds the psycho-babble community out there that “crazy” still exists. Forget bad childhoods and liquid imbalances. Some people are just whackjobs and do horrible things. Some murder people. Occasionally they poop in the sink. Others make dreadful films about non-existent book sections.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15681&reviewer=198
originally posted: 02/08/07 02:38:44
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2007 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

12/11/10 Tyler Sciortino Pointless and tacky. 2 stars
5/14/10 brian Chapman portrayed as a schizophrenic who gave everybody the creeps. What a shock. 3 stars
1/26/09 Flip I completely agree with this review 1 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. jared leto always succeeds. i can't believe he put on all that weight for this. 4 stars
11/14/08 CTT Adds nothing to history; Leto tries out his DeNiro impression 3 stars
10/13/08 mr.mike Leto suceeds , therefore the film suceeds. 4 stars
4/09/08 Jasmin Give it a chance!!! Brilliant performance by Jared Leto 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  28-Mar-2008
  DVD: 30-Sep-2008

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