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The Killing of John Lennon - Jason Solomons - The Observer

20th Aug. 2006, Jason Solomons - The Observer

Bang, bang, shoot, shoot

Happiness was a warm gun for Lennon's killer and a big con for Kubrick's impersonator. Both light up the screen

Jason Solomons

Sunday August 20, 2006

The Observer

Continuing the connections, two of the most interesting films in the large selection of new British movies competing for the Michael Powell Award were about delusional loners obsessed with celebrity

Similar sentiments were expressed by Mark Chapman who, in December 1980, shot John Lennon five times outside the Dakota Building in New York. The Killing of John Lennon provided the festival's most controversial film, taking us into the warped mind of one of the world's first celebrity stalkers and seeking, for the first time on film, to expound on one of the most famous murders in history.

To his credit, director and writer Andrew Piddington doesn't make a hero or even an anti-hero out of Chapman. The 25-year-old killer from Honolulu is presented as thoroughly deranged, dangerous and terrifyingly misguided, played as he is with impressive edginess by newcomer Jonas Ball.

Piddington based his script on published interviews with Chapman and the man's own diary entries, and the ultra-low budget film is dense, claustrophobic and compelling, re-creating New York's tawdry atmosphere with skill. It stood out as a noteworthy world premiere at the festival.


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