Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"the u.s. vs. john lennon" documentary review

what a coincidence that, on the anniversary of lennon's recording of "instant karma," vh1 classics broadcast the documentary "the u.s. vs. john lennon" last night! the film, with all the archival footage, is an incredibe look at the u.s. government effort to deport lennon in the early 1970's. but, don't mistake the film as a broader look at john lennon's life during that same period. the film portraits lennon as a saint - without faults - and had the full backing of yoko ono.

"the u.s. versus john lennon" takes the polar opposite tack that the creepy "lennon in america: 1971-1980," book did, in covering the same period of lennon's life. that book passed up no opportunity to highlight every lennon weakness, and painted him as a captive of yoko ono (a familar lament of those who insist she broke up the beatles). the "real" flesh and blood lennon was somewhere between those extremes.

regardless of the portrait of lennon himself, the u.s. efforts to deport him were real - and were an ugly perversion of our constitutional government. the lengths to which government officials went to achieve their personal objectives was obscene. thankfully that effort failed miserably. it was karma that lennon finally received his "green" card the day his son sean was born! the film does a great job highlighting the abuses of power.

but the film itself grossly abused its licence in the final scene - where yoko implied that "they" wanted john dead. then it cuts to reports of lennon's grisly murder outside the dakota. his death was the work of an insane fan, not some government operatives. for the filmmakers to foster that cold calculated impression is really sinking to the bottom of respectability.

that ugliness aside, watch this film if you can. it is an eye opener.

for another side of john lennon, check out an exhibit of his artwork.

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