The US vs John Lennon

The US vs John Lennon
ADVERTISEMENT

Review

Despite being vetted by Yoko Ono and overlooking some of the ex-Beatle's less savoury antics, this is anything but a portrait of a victimised saint. It's a compelling account of John Lennon's politicisation and his struggle to beat a 1972 extradition order from the US government. The film also suggests that he was duped by the very people he sought to promote. By befriending Lennon, Yippie and Black Panther leaders like Abie Hoffmann and Bobby Seale were able to harness his celebrity and media savvy, while also setting him up as a high-profile decoy for the Nixon administration. There's a lack of balance in loading the talking heads with anti-establishment veterans such as Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal, and the need to establish the background to Lennon's status in the States requires the rehashing of some overly familiar footage and anecdotage. But the thesis that he was a naive peacenik whose conviction in his own legend enabled him to be exploited is both original and intriguing.

Summary

Film-makers David Leaf and John Scheinfeld trace John Lennon's journey from his years in the Beatles to anti-war activist and icon, revealing the story of why the US government tried to silence him.

Cast & Crew

Director David Leaf
Director John Scheinfeld
Producer David Leaf
Producer John Scheinfeld
Writer David Leaf
Writer John Scheinfeld
see more
Documentary