Writer-director Andrew Piddington (Shuttlecock, The Fall
) delves deep into the mind of Mark David Chapman in The Killing of John Lennon
. Jonas Ball makes his feature-film debut as Chapman, the crazed gunman who shot John Lennon on December 8, 1980. Basing his script on Chapman's own words from interviews, writings, court transcripts, and depositions, Piddington retraces the events leading up to the shooting, which reverberated around the world. He goes back three months, showing Chapman's dysfunctional relationship with his mother (Krishna Fairchild) and his inattentiveness to his wife (Mie Omori) in Honolulu, where he was living after leaving his hometown of Decatur, Georgia. Chapman soon becomes obsessed with J. D. Salinger's classic novel The Catcher in the Rye
, seeing himself as fictional character Holden Caulfield, who must root out the phonies of the world. By accident, he chooses former Beatle John Lennon as his victim, ultimately reasoning that Lennon sings about imagining no possessions yet is a millionaire living in the ritzy Dakota building in New York City, so he must be brought down. Chapman buys a gun, heads to the Big Apple, and starts stalking the Dakota, gripping his copy of Lennon's comeback album, Double Fantasy
. Through voice-over narration, dialogue, and poignant one-person scenes, Piddington follows Chapman's dark, dangerous descent that results in cold-blooded murder. The film is shot on location in Decatur, Honolulu, and Manhattan, at the exact spots where the actual events took place. Ball gives a quirky, deeply felt performance, part Travis Bickle in Taxi
, part Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy
, part Valerie Solanas in I Shot Andy Warhol
, embodying Chapman, while Piddington manages to hold viewers in suspense even though they know what is going to happen.