Tuesday, July 04, 2017

The Lennon Report

When a loved one dies it’s usually an ordinary day. There’s no sign of it coming and yet it did. You expect the world to end if only because it doesn’t feel right going on without them, yet the world moves on.

The Lennon Report is a movie based on real events of the night John Lennon was shot.  I had a little list of expectations on what it was; topping it was just a plain dramatization of events. Considering he was one of the more popular Beatle I also expected an end of an era feel or maybe an omen to a darker one. After a few minutes into the movie the question of fame came into view.

December 8, 1980 was an ordinary night, Christmas season. ABC producer Alan Weiss (Walter Vincent), was headed home. He had just finished his shift and as far as newsrooms go it was a quiet night. 

The Emergency Department of Roosevelt Hospital was the same. Dr. David Halleran (Evan Jonigkeit) was enjoying an NFL game with a patient while nurses were enjoying crossword puzzles and eating homemade cakes.

And then shots were fired over at Central Park West at the Dakota, a known home of celebrities.

I don’t know how true but I assume for cinematic purposes it seemed the requested ambulance never reached the Dakota because it was attending to an injured Alan Weiss who had a motor bike accident in the park. It was destiny; he ended up in the same hospital as John’s.

It is from the perspective of Alan Weiss that the perspective got skewed towards fame. The trailer already has Alan in a crusading tone that this shooting, a tragedy, was a story that needed to be told. He was a media man through and through.

By modern standards though, Alan was tamer. Modern standards meant that Alan, a paparazzi, or any random patient or staff may have shot and posted any part of the incident and posted it online.

Alan was annoyingly persistent after having pieced together from whispers by the police on site and ultimately the presence of Yoko Ono, trying to contact his station or asking around. This he did even when he was injured, hopping around to get what he needed until hospital staff took him out of the ER.

Even if tamer by modern standards was Alan Weiss in the right? Where is the line? John Lennon was shot; media is aware; public figure; no pictures taken; is the story a fair game as they say? 

There was a scene Alan, struggling to get up, attempting for a mad dash for an already grieving Yoko Ono – John was already pronounced dead – making her way out of the hospital indicated that the line, if it ever mattered at all, would be broken in a flash.

What I didn’t expect watching the Lennon Report is experiencing a sense of loss. I am a fan. There was a time during the 90s when a local TV station, on test broadcast, played only Beatles videos. They had simple songs with a timeless message. And socially they were my bread and butter on any videoke night.

All this issues of fame or the public’s obsession by it heightened my sense of loss which the filmmakers achieved because I was left hanging for any image of John or the man playing as John. I never got that. 

Not a close up when police brought them on their own from the Dakota; no goodbye (kiss the dead kin kind of scene) in the ER with Yoko Ono (Karen Tsen Lee). Only the back of the assassin Mark David Chapman was shown.

No Beatles posters were seen and not even a Beatles or John Lennon song in the soundtracks. In the hours surrounding John Lennon’s death there was an outpouring of grief by the fans in the surrounding area, I didn’t even get to hear them sing but I have seen news clips that they did.

My mind was asking: ok that’s how you feel Mr. Reporter, ER nurse, doctor, but how is John?

If Alan was not enough there is a dispute over who gets the credit operating over John Lennon, which was not overtly presented in the movie. What drives a doctor to do that? They would never have done that to an ordinary person.

Legally speaking is that even possible, doctors sign forms; still there it was, when I google the topic. The icing on the cake would be one of the nurses – end credits have interviews of the real ER staff - said a fan was offered $500 for her bloody pants.

Where is John? Who was John Lennon? Of course I know he died nearly the start of the movie but like in real life, death of a loved one, the deceased just stops. We the living get no video montage, no answers why. As in the movie, those in the ER, Yoko; we find our own answers.

And Imagine.