(out of 5)
It’s hard to believe, but at one point in history the FBI concentrated much of its surveillance power on mop-headed pop rocker John Lennon. Lennon’s awakening to the world of political radicalism (and the inherent value of shaggy hair) in the late sixties and early seventies, prompted by his feelings about the war in Vietnam and the humane influence of wife Yoko Ono, impelled J. Edgar Hoover and his buddies to find out just who’s Hand he Wanna Hold. David Leaf and John Scheinfeld have fashioned this thorough, absorbing investigation into those years when Lennon’s slogans of ‘Give Peace A Chance’ and ‘War Is Over’ struck a nerve and had a lasting influence (that continues to this day) on participants of activism. Interviews with a whole range of subjects, from journalist Walter Cronkite to radical activist Angela Davis, former presidential hopeful George McGovern, tabloid journalist Geraldo Rivera and Ono herself provide a fascinating narration of Lennon’s mindset and activities until his tragic murder in 1980. Lots of great stock footage (particularly the unforgettable Bed-In interviews) and a terrific soundtrack make for a rich documentary experience.
Lionsgate, VH1 Rock Docs, Authorized Pictures, LSL Productions
Screenplay by David Leaf, John Scheinfeld
Cinematography by James Mathers
Produced by David Leaf, John Scheinfeld
Music by Tricia Holloway
Film Editing by Peter S. Lynch II