Don’t judge a book by it’s cover: on the surface The Catcher in the Rye appears an innocuous novel but inside, the engrossing pages would grip generations of us all, provide an affinity to the troubled masses even aid a psychotic young man to murder an icon. On the surface Jared Leto is just a pretty face and musician but he is capable of digging deep and offering a transformative acting performance which he does as said young man Mark David Chapman with this film illustrating the dark days of him moving to New York City and undertaking a series of odd times before finally murdering John Lennon outside his own home. It rips a hole in the fabric of history and a man’s mindset and pokes a camera through.
By day the film feels brisk and stimulating, by night the narrative seems to fall asleep and the scenes become a bit draggy and almost like a test-shoot for a Catcher in the Rye film adaption which wouldn’t get picked up. While an imprint of Jared’s face remains – there is no Jared Leto to be found here: in terms of the weight gained, accent put on, mannerisms adopted and evil/damaged aura conjured, he vanishes. Some may argue that all of that together makes for an over-the-top performance but it can’t be denied that it’s an impressive effort. On the other hand, Lindsay Lohan is very much herself; she plays Jude like a high school girl in the noughties being nice to the awkward kid in her class – she was OK but the role was ripe for her to do more with it which she could’ve and should’ve done. Judah, the guy with hats on 30 Rock gives a convincing turn as a “woah, dude” photographer but other than that everyone else is basically an extra but they seem like more, sub-conciously we pay more attention to them than we need to as a means of giving us a break from the Mark madness that does get too much a times.
For those who love the Beatles and John and were gravely effected by the event of 1980 will find this a hideous experience to be up close and personal to the perpetrator for almost an hour and a half, for those who are indifferent but intrigued by the man and assassination and seeking an informative and emotional insight will be mildly satisfied in terms of the former and massively so by what the films offers in the latter. Chapter 27 didn’t prove to be much of a hit, probably not enough to save the writer/director from Chapter 11 – although only a small blip on the cinematic map in terms of quality and success; it can safely be labelled a landmark in its exploration of this world-changing occurrence and the man behind it all which can proudly join a select few to tread that ground and do it quite well additionally.