May 11th: Imagine that.


102. Chapter 27 (J.P. Schaefer, 2007)

Should you pity Jared Leto? He’s a massively successful musician and very attractive chap who the women seem to love. Both of these reasons seem to suggest that acting stardom could beckon for the blue-eyed boy. This should have been the film to have propelled him into the serious ranks. Leto plays Mark Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon, in the three days leading up to the assassination. The performance is thoroughly convincing as Leto adopts the sad Southern accent and gained an enormous amount of weight to look like Chapman. The resemblance is worryingly accurate and the traditional stories circulated about the problems associated with massive short-term weight gain. It is a noteworthy performance though, filled with melancholy and neurosis. It is quite unfortunate that despite this, the film itself is quite poor, Schaefer sticks mainly to close-ups and tight angles. I can understand his desire to force the audience closer to the performances but it becomes far too stifling when the screen is filled with Leto’s huge face all the time. There isn’t any room to breathe in the film and as a result it seems to suffer from a sense of inertia, lacking movement. It’s not an enjoyable film to watch despite the excellent central performance, frankly – it bores. It should be taking its cues from films like Taxi Driver and The Assassination of Richard Nixon, both of which have strong similarities to Chapter 27 but also have the presence of mind to show the world around their protagonist in more detail and help to throw the characters into relief. And so I come back to the point, should you pity Leto? I feel a bit for the chap – he’s clearly worked his nuts off for this and it opened on about 3 screens in America before disappearing completely after some average reviews. Even Lindsay Lohan managed not to be irritating in the film. Such a shame then that they didn’t have a better man at the helm to give this film a slightly wider scope and vision that would have complemented the central performance.

6 thoughts on “May 11th: Imagine that.”

  1. You’re being sarcastic, right? Surely he peaked with Fight Club/American Psycho/Requiem For A Dream. I think also maybe his band is a massive disaster – they were sued by Virgin for not making enough albums.

    I kind of hate Jared Leto.

    1. I knew you’d comment on this, given that you’d told me how much you hate Leto before.

      I’m not being sarcastic and I don’t hate Jared Leto. Chapter 27 isn’t a good film but the boy can act. Seriously, no word of a lie.

  2. 30 Seconds to Mars had a settlement with Virgin/EMI and a brand new multi album contract. Now finishing the follow up to the platinum selling ABL with a new album and a world tour. With many awards and alcolade under their belts I’d hardly call that a massive disaster.

    As far as the film goes it is meant to be claustrophobic and uncomfortable to watch. With an accurate chronical of the days leading up to the murder with excruciating details based on the recollection of Chapman himself. It is a look into the dark side of humanity and a tragic time in history

    1. Hi, I’m pretty sure that I understand the intentions of the film. I just feel that a greater scope of the world Chapman inhabits could have helped put the performance in context. As it is the film failed to ‘find an audience’ and my review was seeking to explore the reasons why that might be. I think the parallels with Taxi Driver and The Assassination of Richard Nixon are pretty accurate in terms of what the film was attempting to do. I realise that the film is relatively accurate in terms of the people Chapman met and his interaction with them but there wasn’t enough of the contextualising which you do get in the other film. It missed the context of the wider world. And like I said in the review – this is a shame because the performance is excellent.

      As for 30 seconds to Mars, I can’t really comment – they’re certainly more popular than Keanu Reeves’ Dogstar! But not my kind of music really.

      Welcome to the site – please continue to comment, it really is appreciated.

  3. I find Leto’s career fascinating he’s talented in so many areas helping to produce alot of his band’s cinematic music video’s.

    Surprisingly it’s his music career that has gotten him more accolades than his acting ability he maybe the hollywood definision of a pretty boy but he refused to conform and didn’t take the easy root of making rubbish chick flicks for an easy buck, alla Johnny Depp which is something I admire in actor.

    I wouldn’t say that people should pity Leto but they should feel sorry for him as hollywood seems to refuse to let him be the actor that he want’s to be which is a shame because I think he has a hell of alot more to offer the movie industry and isn’t afraid to change his appearance for his craft whether it’s losing or gaining weight.

    The one thing you can say about Leto is he gives his all to his projects, having watched him since his day’s in teen drama My So Called Life to Chapter 27 and his band 30 Seconds To Mars I often find myself disappointed in the movie but not in his performance.

    Mark Chapman isn’t the first person he has recreated on screen and for a better film I would watch Prefontaine which is probably my favourite Leto movie and yet again he takes away his beauty to show respect to man that perhaps would have won olympic gold if he hadn’t met a untimely death.

    Jared Leto IS a class actor he just needs some to see past those beautiful blue eyes and give him a chance.


  4. Like I said, his performance is on the button in Chapter 27. Absolutely spot on.

    I’m honestly not sure where his career will go in terms of acting though. Perhaps he should focus on the music. Not sure.

    Cheers for the lend of the DVD though, I’ll give the Prefontaine one a watch too.

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