Looking For Lennon (2018) – Motion Picture Maniac
First, John Lennon’s great-grandfather did this, then he did this and then he did this. Next, his grandfather did this, then he did this and then he did this. Then, his father did this, then he did this and then and then and then…
There’s an awful lot of information to be found in Looking For Lennon, a documentary on the life and history of, you guessed it, John Lennon, but no soul, no true purpose behind its existence except as a go-to archive for the most hard-core of Lennon fans who feel they need to know more than just his music. Incidentally I am not one of those people so I couldn’t help but find this documentary quite boring if I’m being totally honest with you, greater documentaries are more than just a long list of cold facts, they, like any fiction film, need personality, atmosphere and a beating heart – Looking For Lennon, despite trying from time to time, has none of these.
I don’t want to call it lazy, there are quite a few instances in which an interesting visual has been attempted, interviewees have not just had a camera aimed at them while they ramble stuff relevant to the point, the editing has been jam packed with sweat, blood and tears (always a good indicator that someone gave a damn because editing can be HARD) and new information on someone like John Lennon doesn’t sound like the easiest egg to hunt. I think the filmmakers knew what they were doing… to an extent – they’ve found and interviewed all the right people, they’ve got the information and lots of it but if I could compare the film, as a whole, to anything it would be those random little BBC/ITV documentaries about someone famous you might catch a small glimpse of as you skim through the TV guide.
They tried to be more than that but I would say that they failed because if I came across on TV I would change channel faster than if I was taking part in a race, being required to watch the whole thing for this review I almost fell asleep on multiple occasions. It never quite manages to escape its rather televisual appearance and they in which it presents all of its information is just really dull and uninteresting, the fact that I wasn’t interested before has nothing to do with it, there are plenty of subjects I don’t find interesting but documentaries about them have riveted me. This is pretty much the John Lennon/documentary version of the film All Eyez On Me, it had all the relevant information on Tupac but it had no drive, no weight, the equivalent of someone going “first he did this, then he did this, then he did this…” and on and on it goes.
A die hard Lennon/Beatles fan might enjoy it since they’re already interested but I cannot in good conscious say I liked this film because it bored me, the information did not intrigue, excite or entice me in any way because information on its own isn’t enough, it needed to do more, more than just talk about some place a member of the Lennon family hung out as a youth, be about the “why” instead of simply the “what”. You know what it reminded me of? Charles Dickens’s England presented by Derek Jacobi, that hilariously awful television garbage about places in which Dickens may have sneezed, granted Looking For Lennon is, of course, much better than that but not by much.
The information is fine but what it need was a soul; a reason to exist beyond the words “based on John Lennon’s Wikipedia page”. Don’t blame me for not being interested in the subject, the film could’ve made me interested like others have done but it didn’t. For fans only.
Tickets for for Looking for Lennon’s final screening at FACT Picture house is on Thursday 21st June at 18:30. Tickets can be purchased here. Available on VOD from Friday 22nd June.
Read Phil’s Quick Capsule Review tomorrow.