Some critics are of two minds about Andrew Piddington's The Killing of John Lennon, which opens in New York today (Wednesday). On the one hand, they all seem to agree that the writing, directing, and acting (newcomer Jonas Ball plays Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman) are superb. The subject matter is another thing. "If The Killing of John Lennon is a well-made film, it is also a total bummer," concludes Stephen Holden in the New York Times. Frank Scheck in the Hollywood Reporter suggests that the filmmakers were merely attempting to take advantage of Lennon's name, saying that while the movie "boasts an undeniable technical proficiency and historical authenticity ... [it] nonetheless has an unavoidably exploitative feel." Bruce Bennett in the New York Sun sums up: "I say it's exploitation, and I say the hell with it." But Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News calls the movie "riveting," and concludes, "Piddington does a beautiful balancing act, creating a movie that works both on the level of suspense and as a detailed factual chronicle."