The U.S. vs. John Lennon Reviews
The U.S. vs. John Lennon jumps straight into its story without giving any preceding context to who John Lennon or the history of Richard Nixon's presidency. There is enough pop culture in the world so that most viewers will already understand the background of the documentary even if they didn't grow up during or study the era. However, it does foreshadow the rather small scale the documentary sits on.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon is clearly not a documentary with the broadest scope. Though it aspires to capture a lot of history with John Lennon's plight against the American government, it is limited to how much history it actually covers. Ambitiously choosing to go past the simplistic technique of voice-over narration, The U.S. vs. John Lennon relies on simply stock footage and interviews without a wider picture of the historical context of the story. Surprisingly there aren't any surprising members of The Beatles given contemporary interviews to discuss their perspective on John Lennon which is a real shame, but there is much in-depth discussion given thanks to interviews with Yoko Ono who reflects on her time with John Lennon with passion and sadness. We are also given the perspective of wise people like author Gore Vidal who speaks with such eloquence about the man. So as well as gaining an understanding of precisely how many people John Lennon touched, we are given insight to some of the individuals who have had their lives changed by having known a man like John Lennon. This ensures that the film is not just a documentation of his spectacular existence, but a touching sentiment as a platform to discuss the man he was to the world and to those who really knew him. Putting him on such a pedestal turns out to be a very one-sided approach to the material, but The U.S. vs. John Lennon pleads its case well enough to ensure that audiences are convinced that it is promoting the correct message.
Since The U.S. vs. John Lennon tackles a complicated story about love and war against the context of an oppressive authority, there is a sense that the scope of the documentary could have been larger to truly convey just how much the nation of America reacted to both John Lennon and the US Government. There is room to go into depth about precisely how far the American government went and how involved Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover were in attempting to silence him, but it is not realized due to the one-sided approach of directors David Leaf and John Scheinfeld who are more interested in glorifying his achievements than capturing the real structure behind how they came to be in the face of such oppression. There is potential to delve a lot deeper with The U.S. vs. John Lennon so it is a shame that it failed to achieve that, but there is still no denying the beautiful spirit of the film.
Everyone who has ever heard of The Beatles knows that they made a big mark on history, but The U.S. vs. John Lennon teaches me something about that I didn't already know. The best thing about The U.S. vs. John Lennon is the amount of history it covers in the life of John Lennon. Each member of The Beatles deserves their own story since they all lived out magnificent lives, but the existence of John Lennon could be arguably the most notorious. The U.S. vs. John Lennon captures merely a glimpse of the massive impact he made on the world, but it focuses on a very prominent time in his life. Looking back on his influence as a promoter of peace during a time of war and the counterculture movement, The U.S. vs. John Lennon manages to bring history to life for a short time. Though there is potential for the documentary to go a little deeper, the fact that it only runs for 99 minutes ensures that The U.S. vs. John Lennon never overstays its welcome. The documentary is clear and to the point, concise and intelligent in reminding us all of what John Lennon's spirit was all about. The spirit carries throughout not just the history being depicted but also the film itself.
The atmospheric life of The U.S. vs. John Lennon is kept alive by the soundtrack. Making use of many of John Lennon's musical works at the perfect time, The U.S. vs. John Lennon is ripe with feeling. It gives viewers an effective sense of nostalgia to the time being covered while also supporting the messages being promoted in the documentary. Viewers are given a trip through time by the beautiful music in The U.S. vs. John Lennon and as well as capturing different points in his musical career, it shows us precisely how well it all fit into the changing times of history which supports the notion of depicting the extent of success achieved by The Beatles. The viewers are given a glimpse of the world that The Beatles were in and treated to their music, left to piece together the timely relevance of their material . The U.S. vs. John Lennon is smart enough to trigger this thought pattern within viewers without explicitly stating it, ensuring that the messages of the film are able to seep their way into viewers and encourage them to go out and explore further. This is a smart idea when it is taken into consideration that a mere 99 minutes is the limit on how much material can be covered by the documentary.
So The U.S. vs. John Lennon fails to truly capture the scale of history affected by John Lennon due to its one-sided focus, but with a passionate message about the way the man changed the world, The U.S. vs. John Lennon is a competent documentary with a very direct narrative and a nostalgic soundtrack.