A slightly misleading title – rather than simply focusing on Lennon’s fight with the Immigration service over the early part of the 70s, this film presents a polished, authorized look at the peace movement in general, Yoko and John’s involvement with the radical elements of the era, situated during the death of “flower power”. Authorization has its benefits, and the involvement of Yoko provides quite a number of rare footage of the family, along with the usual clips trotted out when documenting this period (bed-ins, bag-ins, etc.)
The breadth of interviews was quite good, and the film goes to great pains to situate Lennon within the wider political framework of the day. Everyone from G. Gordon Liddy to Geraldo are trotted out to either decry or justify the treatment that the Nixon government gave the couple.
Certainly the film isn’t hard hitting or overtly political (save the usual comments thrown out by Gore Vidal – I can’t help but think of his role in Bob Roberts for obvious reasons every time he talks about this time period). Yoko’s involvement does mean a hesitancy to criticize Lennon overtly. Still, both the government that prosecuted the couple, and the radicals such as Abby Hoffman that used the singer for their own promotion are shown to be two sides of the same coin, both the Nixon government and the Radical movements using Lennon’s image for their own benefit. It’s all the more remarkable, then, when you hear Lennon’s own defences for his political stand, the passionate and clear articulation that’s lacking from so many politicians these days, let alone rock stars.