Length: 84 minutes
Director: J.P. Schaefer
Writer: J.P. Schaefer
Starring: Jared Leto, Lindsay Lohan, Judah Friedlander, Mark Lindsay Chapman, Melissa Demyan, Molly Griffith, Matthew Humphreys, Mariko Takai, Lauren Milberger
The voice over narration at the beginning of “Chapter 27” pretty much sets us up for the rest of the film. Jared Leto, doing what at first comes across as a “Saturday Night Live” worthy voice impersonation of Mark David Chapman, informs us that he is going to tell his story, however he “ain’t gonna bother talking about how he grew up or his folks or nuthin’”. There in lies one of the major problems of the film, but at least it has the gall to tell us so in the first five minutes. If you’re looking for any sort of in depth analysis on Chapman- the man who infamously gunned down John Lennon for no reason- you’re watching the wrong film. In true, “Armageddon”/”Deep Impact” or “Capote”/”Infamous” form, another Chapman film was made around the same time called “The Killing of John Lennon”. I have that film on my waiting list and am hoping to learn a little more about the man himself through that. It’s hard to imagine that film has a better lead though. Once Leto gets moving, the parody element begins to fade away and he does truly disappear into the character. As you probably know from all the tabloid shots that were taken during the filming of the movie, he gained a good amount of weight for the role. He doesn’t look like “something beautiful” like he did in “Fight Club”- he looks and acts like Mark David Chapman. It’s a shame the movie doesn’t give him much to do with it. The majority of the action takes place with Chapman waiting in front of Lennon’s apartment for the legend himself (Mark Lindsay Chapman) to appear. He talks to himself a lot, mainly I suppose because there aren’t a lot of other characters in the film. He has inter-conflicts on whether he should kill Lennon or not. After he finally meets Lennon and gets his autograph, he has a moment of clarity that maybe what he plans on doing isn’t such a great idea after all. He lives in Hawaii and he had made a prior visit to New York and assassination attempt a few months earlier. He knows all the doormen’s names. It’s by tragic coincidence that on the fateful day Lennon was killed, there was a new doorman on duty who wasn’t aware that Chapman was a little off balance. Then, of course, there’s Lindsay Lohan’s character, Jude. Jude is a groupie who spends most of her time with a fellow Lennon fan (Melissa Demyan) waiting for Lennon too. She knows Lennon’s manager, nanny, and even baby Sean (giving us the film’s creepiest moment when she introduces Chapman to the child and they shake hands). Lohan, believe it or not, actually gives a decent performance (granted, she is given little screen time). “Chapter 27”, like it’s rival “The Killing of John Lennon”, have both been protested by Yoko Ono (played here by Mariko Takai) and Beatles fans in fear that they may portray Chapman in a sympathetic light (Ono, herself, still refuses to call Chapman by his name). They should have nothing to worry about. Even though Leto gives one of his best career performances, the film itself will probably be destined to be forgotten. Not exactly the notoriety Chapman himself was asking for.