Film Reviews: Oct 2010

"Let Him Be" DVD (Abracadabra Productions)
A film by Peter McNamee

What if John Lennon didn’t die in 1980? What if he went underground and was living in Canada? That is the premise of the film, "Let Him Be". The film runs as a pseudo documentary - an undergrad film student, Tim Bennett, finds a film inside a camcorder that he got from a yard sale. He watches the film and notices a quick glimpse of a man playing the guitar intro to "Sweet Little Sixteen". Tim is sure that the man is in fact an older John Lennon. He convinces his girlfriend, Kathleen Joyce (also an undergrad film student) to accompany him on a quest to find the man in the film, and to make a documentary of their journey. With this in mind, they decide to film everything – with surveillance cameras even placed inside the car and the hotel room.

Their journey starts in the area where the camcorder was purchased. Along the way they meet people that each gives them clues to the man in the film. His name is Noel Snow, who lives with his cousin Stanley Fields (wordplay on Strawberry Fields?), both of whom have a farm. Once they locate the farm in which Noel & Stanley live, Tim performs the highly illegal act of breaking and entering the farm to place several motion-detection-activated video cameras in.

Thus starts the really interesting part of the film in which Tim studies each day’s worth of videotape for clues that Noel really is John Lennon. I'm not going to give any "spoilers" for the rest of the film - but I will say that the film evidence that Tim finds is very convincing! The soundtrack for the movie deserves special note as the songs try to re-create what a seventy-year-old John Lennon would sound like. It is the eerie "familiar" sound of the songs that add to the mystery of the film.

With all the horrid Lennon/Beatles related films that have come out in the last few years, it is refreshing to see a film that gets it RIGHT - one that both entertains and doesn't insult the intelligence of Beatles fans. Sure, it is a fantasy piece, but "Let Him Be" is one of the most fascinating Beatles-related films that I have ever seen.

Review by Ronnie