The Killing of John Lennon

The Killing of John Lennon Image
Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Killing of John Lennon is a chilling insight into the mind of Mark David Chapman, the 25-year-old narcissist who gunned down John Lennon outside his Dakota apartment in New York in 1980. Meticulously researched and filmed on actual locations where events occurred, the film is a gritty,The Killing of John Lennon is a chilling insight into the mind of Mark David Chapman, the 25-year-old narcissist who gunned down John Lennon outside his Dakota apartment in New York in 1980. Meticulously researched and filmed on actual locations where events occurred, the film is a gritty, imagistic examination of a celebrity stalker's mind leading up to the kill, as well as his descent into madness and exorcism. Independently financed and filmed over three years in Hawaii, Georgia, and New York, the film is unflinching in its presentation of the truth. It does not set out to condone or exonerate the shooting death of Lennon or his killer's desire for fame. Its theme of bomb-ticking loneliness and, by extension, the notion that America is a nation of angry strangers who vent paranoid resentment toward public figures couldn't be more resonant today. (Picture Players Ltd.) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 10
  2. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. Piddington does a beautiful balancing act, creating a movie that works both on the level of suspense and as a detailed factual chronicle.
  2. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    70
    Anchored by a fearless, commanding lead perf by newcomer Jonas Ball as deranged assassin Mark David Chapman, The Killing of John Lennon is a harrowing, impressionistic, widescreen tour-de-force that unfolds with the propulsive urgency of a scrapbook thrown into a howling wind.
  3. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    63
    It's a "Taxi Driver"-inspired odyssey into violence and insanity that runs close to two hours -- a long time to be riding shotgun with a madman.
  4. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    50
    "Killing" never moves past a superficial understanding of its subject, whose transcribed ramblings may not be the best key to unlocking his fractured mind. The movie gets inside Chapman's head but never under his skin.
  5. Shot in a quasi-documentary style at the actual locations where the events took place, including the sidewalk outside the Dakota, the movie is extremely uncomfortable to watch.
  6. Reviewed by: Matthew Sorrento
    40
    As the narrative lugubriously sticks to the documented events, we are served nothing more than a filmed transcript.
  7. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    30
    Director Andrew Piddington's fastidiously researched, dubiously suspenseful character portrait is unable to salvage a lick of hindsight from the tragedy beyond "Murderous narcissists are people, too." (He's a victim of our celebrity-fixated culture? Oh, shut up.)

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Dec 30, 2011
    8
    Very chilling account of the senseless John Lennon murder. It's missing a few factual elements that would have made it a bit moreVery chilling account of the senseless John Lennon murder. It's missing a few factual elements that would have made it a bit more interesting. Mark David Chapman was tubby and had a piggy face. This actor was way too good looking to do him justice. Expand
  2. ChadS.
    Jul 3, 2008
    7
    "Killing" sounds less grandiose than "assasination", less like an achievement for the fame-seeking murderer, less paegantry. We want to "Killing" sounds less grandiose than "assasination", less like an achievement for the fame-seeking murderer, less paegantry. We want to remember the victim, not the man who pulled the trigger. "Killing" makes Mark David Chapman's cockamamy enterprise to kill an ex-Beatle appear senseless and pathetic. "Assasination" transmits the connotation of rational cognition and historical magnitude. Chapman did alter history. But don't tell him that. Don't encourage him. A film such as "The Killing of John Lennon" allows Chapman to confirm in his mind that he was somebody, and still is. An overreliance on the moods and textures of Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" is employed as filmic shorthand to explicate the killer's disconnect with the human condition. What at first may seem like an overt self-consciosness of the Scorsese film, starts to seem more like a savvy move when "The Killing of John Lennon" reminds us that soon after Lennon's death, John Hinckley nearly turned Ronald Reagan's two-term presidency into a much more abbreviated one. As Chapman alchemized J.D. Salinger's prose(from the unfairly maligned "The Catcher in the Rye"), Reagan's shooter did the same with Scorsese's mis-en-scene(Hinckley was fixated on Jodie Foster). Both men mistook a passive medium for an inter-active one. To associate Chapman with Hinckley; this is the intent of the movie. But an alternate reading, beyond the artist's control(sound familiar?), emanates from Ronald Reagan's presence as a presidential hopeful, parceled throughout the film in the form of campaign posters and speeches from the various media outlets. Reagan, let's not forget, was an actor, and in Chapman's mind, so was Lennon. If the viewer lumps together the Liverpudlian lad with the star of "Knute Rockne: All-American", instead of the Jodie Foster-enthusiast, Lennon's attributes, which Chapman assigns to him, are reconfirmed, because slanderous labels such as "fat pig" and "phony" sounds conspicously like the names that Reagan would receive from his harshest critics. If you link the late ex-governor of California with the composer of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Imagine", Lennon does become the "fat pig" and "phony" that Chapman believed him to be, through intertextuality and by proxy. A renegade consciousness, contrary to what the filmmaker intended, that Chapman's weird burlesque of Holden Caulfield was an act of righteousness, transforms the anti-hero into a hero. Expand
  3. JayH.
    May 23, 2008
    5
    Meticulously accurate and overly detailed account of the murder of John Lennon, but director Andrew Paddington developed a slow moving film Meticulously accurate and overly detailed account of the murder of John Lennon, but director Andrew Paddington developed a slow moving film with way too many lingering shots that should have been edited out. It's painfully slow at times and only scratches the surface of the killer. Expand