I found this movie to be interesting. Although there is interaction with other characters it’s very much focused on Mark David Chapman (Jared Leto). It covers the three days he spent in New York City leading up to the shooting of John Lennon. This is a slower paced movie in which the story unfolds before us. While there is a lot of standing in front of “The Dakota”, time spent in his hotel room, taking taxis, and narration voice over by “Mark” I was never bored. The way the movie was inter-cut and Jared’s acting kept it interesting and the story moving along.
Obviously the first thing I have to comment on is Jared. The physical transformation he went through is astounding (he gained over 60 pounds for the role). Which he has said he will never do again, can’t say I blame him (I thought he was crazy to do it in the first place). He was just amazing. I had to remind myself it was even him. His mannerisms, voice, accent and speech patterns were so different from anything I had seen Jared do before.
Unfortunately, I think the fact that he his gorgeous makes it hard for some to see beyond that. Too many people just see him as another pretty face and don’t realize what a great actor he is. Hopefully, this role will help change that. By the way, if you haven’t heard him sing, he has a great voice as well. He and his brother Shannon are in a band called “30 Seconds to Mars“. I have their first two CDs and I really enjoy them. They are supposed to have a new one coming out sometime this summer.
I like movies that show you what makes people tick and I think this movie is successful in that. While it can never fully explain what drove Mark to do what he did it does give us a glimpse into his world. His obsession with “The Catcher in the Rye” and Holden Caulfield. His awkwardness in dealing with other people, even to the point of making up stories to hopefully make them interested in him. Trying to convince people to hang out with him, like he couldn’t bear the thought of being alone. The harder he tries to keep people around him the more he freaks them out and drives them away.
Mark laying out his important possessions on the dresser in the hotel room before he leaves for “The Dakota”. He fully expects to never return there. It’s almost like he is setting up his own memorial.
The scene in the park where he met little Sean Lennon and his nanny freaked me out. To see him there with the kid and shaking his hand horrified me. How could he calmly interact with Sean like that, while at the same time planning to kill his father?
Mark meets John Lennon and gets his autograph. He finds that he liked John and was amazed he was nice and wasn’t a phony like he expected. Mark then has an argument with himself about whether he should go through with shooting him or not. This was just entirely mesmerizing and utterly disturbing at the same time.
Mark – “Sometimes I felt like the Beatles music was made just for me.”
Mark – “I hate the movies. They’re phony, so god damned phony.”
Mark – “I swear to God I was the only normal b*st*rd in that lousy dump.”
Mark – “Everyone needs something … to find something. Everyone is cracked and broken. You have to find something to fix you. To give you what you need. To take you away and make you whole.”
Mark – “I knew I was going to do something big. I just didn’t know if it was gonna be good or bad.”
Mark – “This isn’t just a book, this is everything.”
Mark – “The phony must die says the catcher in the rye.”
So I have mixed feelings about this movie. I am always depressed after I watch it. However, it also tends to put me in an introspective mood, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It saddens me to see a life ended before it’s time, but also makes me reflect on how you really need to live your life to the fullest every day. I am amazed watching Jared’s performance, but I am also very disturbed by the fact that this is a real person he is portraying. That there is someone in real life that is actually like that and did commit this crime/tragedy.
After I saw this movie for the first time I decided I should read “The Catcher in the Rye”, somehow I avoided having to read it during school. I have to confess I only made it through the first eight chapters and kind of stopped. So it has been just sitting in my nightstand for about six months now (and I am not one to ever stop in the middle of a book). I just can’t seem to get caught up in the story, which makes it really hard for me to understand how someone can be obsessed with it. Although, I have to say it is quite eerie how the wording Mark uses when he speaks is so “Holden” like.
Personal side note: When Mark David Chapman worked at Castle Hospital in Hawaii, I actually lived about two miles away from the hospital and actually had to go to the ER there when I was ill. In retrospect it’s a little freaky to think you could bump into someone that became so infamous later on.