Chopper (2000)

Chopper's not the usual sort of film I'd review in here, but I enjoyed it so much, I just have to lob it in. It's really the strength of the peformances that reeled me in. And hey, I don't have to limit myself to sci-fi and horror ... it's my site, dammit!

In Australia, Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read was a notorious hitman who became even more famous when he wrote about his exploits in a series of Chopper books. There's some debate about the entire truth in these tomes, but too bad, Read entered the pantheon of famous crims and here's the film.

I'd say Eric Bana's going to hit the big time on the strength of this role - I never thought of him as anything other than good ol' Chopper. And all the performances are pretty good, really. We start the plot pretty much in the middle of Chopper's prison stay, and already he's famous in prison as violent and status-seeking. Interestly enough, when he maims and ultimately kills a fellow prisoner near the start, he still feels remorse, and this thread runs throughout the movie ... people get shotgunned but Chop-Chop still says sorry. Who knows if this was the case in real-life, but it makes for an interesting character study.

I suspect a lot of the real-life events were watered down to make Read a more sympathetic character for audiences ... like why is he nicknamed "Chopper" - because of the gruesome ear-sequence or because of things he does to others, off-screen? But, there are scenes which show Read as innately violent and not just a victim of circumstance ... like when he bashes his prostitute girlfriend. Not a nice scene, viewers.

The film looks great, lots of varying colour schemes and at times, showy filmic effects. This is one baby I'd see for the acting and script. I'm not big on crime sagas (unless they buck the Tarantino-clone trend) but I'd suggest giving this one a go if you're attracted to the cinema of the unusual.



© Boris Lugosi 2001.