The U.S. vs John Lennon
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
David Leaf and John Scheinfeld take a look at John Lennonís impact on American society from the late 60ís to the early 70ís. Through new interviews and stock footage, we see that Lennon was more to the American public and government than a songwriter.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Iíll say right off the bat that Iím a Beatles fanatic. Furthermore, Iím a huge John Lennon fan and feel strongly that he gave the Beatles validity with his genius song writing and made their later songs actually mean something. Iím very familiar with his transformation within the Beatles, but I donít know much about his life post- fab four. I was excited to watch this movie and I hoped it would reveal further details about his life with the U.S. government that I was previously unaware of.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed. By biggest gripe about this film is that it didnít do or say anything that hadnít been done or said before. It felt like a typical TV special that tells you about the events and then gives a couple of interviews where people talk about the events. There was no investigative journalism or further insight into his life your average Beatles fan didnít already know. John Lennon was a fascinating man, but if the most interesting fact you can reveal in 90 minutes is that he was investigated by the FBI, then maybe you havenít done your research or donít know your subject very well.
It was also disappointing that a lot of the key players werenít heard from. None of the Beatles had a chance to discuss the impact on them that Johnís political actions had. His sons werenít interviewed (although Julian rarely does any public appearances anymore). I think those few alone would have given this film a viewpoint that it desperately needed.
Iím discouraged that a film like THE US VS JOHN LENNON got a theatrical release in the first place. Iím assuming that itís because of the name and because documentaries are getting more love these days. I just didnít feel like there was anything of substance here to merit making a movie.
Bonus Footage (54:08): This featurette is broken up into 11 chapters, which makes it convenient to skip through the less interesting segments. The bonus footage provides a lot more information about Lennon, but still not the piercing investigation I was hoping for. I liked the segments that focused on Lennon, but some of them focused on the political situation and those werenít really needed. The movie needed more of the connection between Lennon and the government, not less, so itís a good thing these were left out of the final cut.
There are also some Previews
If youíre a huge John Lennon fan and you canít get enough of the guy, then there may be some things scattered throughout that you havenít seen before. Other than that, I canít see any reason to watch this film. Go buy ďImagineĒ on CD and youíll learn more about John Lennon than watching this film.