A-Z Daily Throwback Review: Chapter 27 (2007)

          When Russell Crow added a great deal of weight to accurately play the true-life role of the whistleblower in The Insider, he began receiving attention. Christian Bale lost a ton of weight for his role in The Machinist, but still had the critics eating out of the palm of his hand. Charlize Theron made herself unattractive in Monster, Nicole Kidman added to her nose to play the famous author in The Hours and even Tom Hanks received attention for his fluctuating weight in Cast Away. The bottom line seems to be that the more unattractive attractive actors are able to make themselves for the sake of a performance, the more positive critical attention they will likely receive. Jared Leto has proved no different with his performance in chapter 27, for which he gained 60 pounds to play the man who killed John Lennon.


          Based on the true story of Hawaiian drifter, Mark David Chapman (Leto), Chapter 27 follows the path of the disturbed fan as he comes face to face with ex-Beatle John Lennon during the three days leading up to their encounter in December of 1980. Chapman at first just seems to be a socially awkward fan, waiting outside of Lennon’s home with a group of ordinary fans waiting to get the Lennon’s autograph, but his interactions with others around him hint at something unnerving in him. He awkwardly makes conversation with an attractive young fan, Jude (Lindsey Lohan), who convinces him to buy Lennon’s new solo album. When the young girl and her friend ask Chapman to join them at the movies, however, he begins spouting angry ideas that come word-for-word out of the text of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, which is the book the infamous killer had in his possession when arrested.


          In the first moments of voiceover Chapman explains his belief in the words of Holden Caufield, the narrator and protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye. There are twenty-six chapters in Salinger’s book, suggesting that Chapman believed his visit to be a continuation of Caufield’s visit to the city of “phony people” in the book. Caufield’s hatred and anger towards many things, including movies, is then adopted by Chapman as he wanders the city in a similar fashion, clutching his book of Catcher in the Rye and Lennon’s latest album as though they were all that mattered.

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