Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Review of "Lennon Naked"

Written by Robert Jones
Directed by Edmund Coulthard

John Lennon: “We’ve all contributed ideas.”

There were many lines from this 85 minute biopic that I thought about using for a quote but for some reason that one stood out the most. I think it was down to the way in which the word, “idea” was utterly by Lennon during that press call with the Beatles at the start of this story.

I’m not gonna say that I’m big fan of either the Beatles or John Lennon personally because both were before my time but I will admit that one of my favourite songs is “Woman” and the fact that I’m a big fan of Christopher Eccleston actually motivated me into watching this a lot more than I would’ve.

For me, a lot of the stuff that was unveiled in this biopic piece was stuff that I vaguely knew of. Lennon’s issues with his father were something I was ignorant of however and it played a massive part of this story. Freddie abandoned John when he was six by forcing him to choose between him and Julia. This alone explained a lot about John Lennon as a person and it also served to show that his father was bad news.

Freddie had made contact with John at the start of his fame and then abandoned him as soon as he got the attentions of a 19 year old girl, which in my opinion is definitely creepy and then towards the end of the story was planning on releasing a book about his life. The scene between him and John as a result was single handed the most powerful moment of the story.

John was scarred by his parents abandoning of him but it also didn’t stop him for being rather cruel to his first wife, Cynthia and abandoning her and their son, Julian for Yoko Ono. Amazing how the very thing that John Lennon was scarred from was the same thing he inflicted onto his own son as a result.

As for Yoko Ono, I’ve never really bought into the notion of her being this witch who contributed breaking up with the Beatles or even wrecking his marriage. This biopic often showed that Lennon was responsible for a lot of the decisions he made and the anger he took when the likes of Paul McCarthy announced the Beatles split instead of him.

The relationships between Yoko and the Beatles were depicted as two very different things in this story as well. The Beatles were on a creative downward spiral and Lennon wanted out. If Yoko hadn’t entered his life the way she did, something else would tipped the scale whereas Yoko did work up his creative juices if the nude paintings and strange recordings were anything to go by.

There are tonnes of performances in this story that are worth citing for praise. Christopher Eccleston in particular is a pitch perfect Lennon, even if we never actually get to hear him sing in the whole thing and I particularly liked Naoko Mori’s take on Yoko Ono as well as Adrian Bower as Lennon’s only friend, Paul Shotten. The story doesn’t really allow for any of the actors playing Paul, Ringo or George to develop onscreen but the actors behind them do a decent job.

- The story starts in 1964 with John reuniting with estranged father, Freddie and ends in 1971 when he and Yoko depart for New York.
- This aired as part of BBC4’s Fatherhood season but I hope it actually makes it to a terrestrial channel prior to DVD release.
- Christopher Eccleston and Naoko Mori previously worked with each other in Doctor Who.
- In this story we did see the various attempts for John and Yoko in their peace protests as the story was winding down.

I’m not gonna say it’s the best biopic I’ve seen but Lennon Naked will actually get you thinking to be brutally honest about the iconic man himself and it’s stuff like that we do need more of on television.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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