MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Everybody knows the Beatles, and everybody knows that the group fractured in the 1970s. This BBC film tells the story of how that happened from the inside perspective of John Lennon. Christopher Eccleston plays the Liverpool native who made it big, portraying the tumultuous time in the group from 1964 until 1971.
WHAT I LIKED
On the whole, the casting of this movie was fantastic, led by Eccleston who does a great John Lennon. This is a bit of a slippery slope when a film is made with so many iconic characters. For the most part, the performances seem natural.
Coming at this from the perspective of not being a Beatles fan, I appreciated the fact that this wasn’t a glorification of John Lennon. It chose to show him in a very unflattering light. This is not a John Lennon obsessed with peace, love and happiness. This is a celebrity in mid-implosion where fame has completely gone to his head.
Similarly, “Lennon Naked” gives a relatively balanced view of Yoko Ono, who has been demonized in modern media almost to the degree of Adolf Hitler. In this film, Yoko is not shown as a predator attempting to break up the group and get into a power struggle with Lennon’s mates. Rather, she’s his muse, which he found completely on his own and became obsessed with.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
It had been said many times before, but it was Quentin Tarantino who said via the “Pulp Fiction” script that you’re either an Elvis man or a Beatles man. Personally, I am an Elvis man all the way, so a look at the life of John Lennon is not the beginning and the end of music history.
Even though the performances are good, it is hard to play such recognizable and iconic characters without sounding like Dana Carvey in a run-of-the-mill “Saturday Night Live” sketch. The same would happen with any film about John Wayne, Ronald Reagan or Jack Nicholson.
While the movie shows the life of Lennon at the height of his popularity (approaching that of Jesus, he famously said), it does seem rather aimless. Still, Lennon’s life was aimless between ’64 and ’71, so I can forgive that.
Finally, I know the movie’s title is “Lennon Naked”… but do we really need to see that much of Lennon naked?
There are no special features on this disc.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who just can’t get enough of the Beatles.