Former Turner Prize nominated artist, Sam Taylor-Wood, turns her talents to the big screen with an ambitious, if disappointingly conventional, biopic of everybodys favourite working class hero, John Lennon.
The year is 1955, and rebellious young tearaway Lennon (Johnson), is living with his Aunt Mimi and beloved Uncle George. However, when George passes away, John is compelled to track down his mother, who walked out when he was five and who, as it turns out, is only living a few streets away. Much to the objection of his Aunt, John soon forms a close bond with his mother, who introduces him to the liberating world of rock and roll.
Presenting little in the way of surprises and ticking all the boxes of a standard music biopic, Nowhere Boy isnt nearly as innovative or as electrifying as youd expect. Never even mentioning the B word, Nowhere Boy takes place during a pre-Beatles era, and to be honest, its not the most interesting period in the Beatles timeline. The usual bouts of teenage angst surround the angry young Lennon, but its nothing we havent seen before, and theres nothing going on to really distinguish this from any other tale of youth in revolt.
However, despite the rather predictable approach, the film is given a fair amount of weight thanks to some terrific performances and an occasionally sharp script. While Johnsons Lennon is often a little off-key (hes far better in Kick-Ass), Kristen Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff, playing Lennons contrasting maternal figures, are excellent, bringing emotional depth and heart to a sometimes stale movie.
The Nowhere Boy DVD includes an informative audio commentary with the director, plus a revealing interview with the former artist. Also included are a few deleted scenes with intros from Taylor-Wood, plus three behind the scenes featurettes.
Overall Verdict: A disappointingly conventional affair, but a couple of stand-out performances save the day.
Audio Commentary With Director Sam Taylor-Wood
Lennons Liverpool Featurette
The Re-Creation Of Lennon And The Quarrymen Featurette
Thats When I Stole Him Featurette
Interview With Director Sam Taylor-Wood
Reviewer: Lee Griffiths