Eric Bana stars as the unhinged Mark “Chopper” Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his best-selling autobiography while serving a murder sentence in prison. His book, “From the Inside”, upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.
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Chopper is a larger than life character. He has written so many different stories about his criminal life that you cant believe anything he says. Eric Bana nails Chopper's personality and humour. You love and hate the man. He scares you while making you laugh. This is Chopper. Beautifully shot and full of Australian-isms. Really puts you there in the criminal world of Australia back in the day.
A truly unique (and often forgotten) film that paved the way for the likes of Bronson. Every time I revisit this little gem, I am in total awe of Bana's performance. It's an extremely textured and complex character working within a very gritty, colour-splashed world.
The more charismatic, funny and affable the sociopath, the harder it is to write him off as he does the despicable things that betray his true nature. "Chopper" Read goes beyond that, laughing at his peculiar celebrity. He gets the broader joke and so does Dominik's bracing debut film. Bana is unrecognizable and riveting in a part seemingly made for him. There are peaks to his talent that we have surely yet to see.
Eric Bana owns this role. His intensity and twisted charisma emanate through the screen. Chopper is an astonishing debut from director Andrew Dominik, and off the top of my head - one of the best Australian features I've ever seen.
Entertaining and well-directed. The coke and courtroom scenes were well done. I'm guessing the bad VHS cinematography was more the result of a low budget than a creative vision but despite how uncomfortable Chopper has the tendency to make its audience feel it doesn't overstay its welcome.
I felt the biggest flaw to this film was an absence of a strong introduction. Possibly the most interesting thing about Chopper Reed was how he got into prison in the first place, which was sadly skimmed over in this filmic take.