Published May 28, 2009Moving past the tackiness in making a film that suggests John Lennon is still alive, and the glib anti-Bush songs within, which are admittedly amusing in an inadvertent, roundabout way, despite being pretty ham-fisted and insulting to the deceased peace activist, Let Him Be manages to be far more entertaining and charming than it should. Sure, it meanders and the main character is a bit of a douche (intentionally) but it's a reasonably cogent example of independent filmmaking, given obvious constraints.
Presented as a pseudo-documentary, with hidden cameras and faux-interviews, this cinematic middle finger to eager and uncompromising undergrad filmmakers channels its distain through Tim Bennett (Sean Clement), a young documentary filmmaker with a limited vocabulary and a desire to prove that John Lennon is still alive and dwelling in small-town Ontario.
It's all sparked by a glimpse of an older man with a guitar on a home video found at a garage sale that resembles and sounds like the Beatle. Seizing the opportunity for his 15 minutes, and ignoring the possibility of potentially destroying the life of a person deliberately hiding from the public, Tim convinces his more mature and thoughtful girlfriend Kathleen (Kathleen Monroe) to try and prove that John Lennon is still alive.
While an examination of the nature of documentary as a mode of subject exploitation proves interesting, the implication that Lennon's intervention on modern issues would change the course of history is a little boozy, smelling ever so faintly of aging pothead.
A shuffled perspective actually works in the film's favour, giving an aesthetic documentary feeling, even if the sketchy acting grates on one's suspension of disbelief. Staginess aside, this core relationship keeps things clipping along with enough energy to sustain the narrative, reminding us all of that age-old battle between love and money. (Abracadabra)