Chapter 27 (2007)
Numbers in the 20s had a remarkably central position in movie titles in 2007, first becoming the point of obsession for Jim Carrey in The Number 23, and then being used to partly explain Mark David Chapman's obsessive state of mind in the hours before he shot and killed John Lennon in New York in December 1980. Director J. P. Schaefer's mission is specific: to give a detailed and deep character study of the infamous man. There is no aftermath, and no public or political effects discussed, as we follow Jared Leto's meticulous performance as Chapman during the three days he spent in New York before the fatal evening. Leto delivers one of his best performances, sporting 30 added kilos and well-studied mannerisms, even if he lacks the extra mile in depth. Some of the deviant mental rationalizations presented on Chapman's behalf are heartrending and fascinating, and will hopefully make people realize that the connection between Lennon's being and Chapman's deed was not rooted in anything else than mental illness. The title refers to the imaginary final chapter of J. D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" with which Chapman was arguably as obsessed as he was with Lennon. In Chapman's mind, dots were connected that others would not be able to see, and Schaefer wants to convey that the outcome of Chapman's reasonings was ultimately rather random. Chapter 27 is a film of insight, but also a highly constrained and self-absorbed experience with a little too narrow objective for most.