The film seems stuck in first gear, grinding through obvious points. Yes, Chapman is troubled by his inability to match masculine ideals (he hires a prostitute for his last night, telling her, "I'm not a weirdo, I wanted to be in the company of a woman tonight"), communicate with his wife (he calls her in Hawaii to ensure she's read Catcher), or make friends (Jude eventually scurries away, worried by Chapman's decidedly strange behavior). Though he makes sure to leave behind an assortment of items by which the police might "know what he's become," the film's unsurprising punchline is that Chapman himself cannot know. Imagining he should be "remembered," he succumbs to the force of celebrity after all.
Confused and profoundly vulnerable, here Chapman is also calculating and judgmental, determined to forge order out of his own emotional chaos. His resolve inspired by a fictional character (Catcher's Holden Caulfield), Chapman's insanity is plain but banal. The film doesn't pretend to interpret him, though it occasionally suggests that he represents a broader angst and turmoil, a desire to stop the ongoing onslaught of all-consuming consumer culture. As Chapman appears both idealistic and out of touch, he seems a neat emblem of hope and hopelessness. "I believe in Holden Caulfield," he announces. "And the book. And what it was saying, what it was saying to a lost generation of phony people."