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Written by Funn Lim
  

"I can see why this is his (Eric Bana) most celebrated performance. He embodies the character and has enough charm and charisma to carry the entire film. It is scary I ended up liking the character when he is such a flawed man."









SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!


AKA
Eric Bana's breakthrough role. You may even say his only breakthrough role thus far.

Released In
2000

Cast-Character
Eric Bana .... Mark Brandon 'Chopper' Read
Simon Lyndon .... Jimmy Loughnan
David Field .... Keithy George
Daniel Wyllie .... Bluey
Bill Young .... Det. Downie
Vince Colosimo .... Neville Bartos
Kenny Graham .... Keith Read
Kate Beahan .... Tanya
Serge Liistro .... Sammy the Turk
Pam Western .... Tanya's Mother
Garry Waddell .... Kevin Darcy
Brian Mannix .... Ian James
Skye Wansey .... Mandy
Annalise Emtsis .... Shazzy
Johnnie Targhan .... Paul the Bouncer

Plot
Taken from imdb.com

Chopper tells the intense true story story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a murder sentence in prison. His book, From The Inside, upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.

Comments
I have heard about this movie for ages. More specifically, ever since I have heard of an actor known as Eric Bana. In fact Chopper is like essential viewing for anyone who wants to see Eric Bana's work and it seems many directors, such as Ang Lee chose Eric Bana to play Hulk after watching Chopper. An essential item in his resume perhaps. So finally I got around to buying it at yesasia.com at a very low price. No Making Of stuff, just the movie. Luckily it came with English subtitles because the Australian accent in this movie was very hard to understand.

This movie is violent to some extent. Not too violent to turn me off but there was a lot of blood spilled. Not many killings involved but got some seriously scary stuff like being stabbed several times, poked in the eyes, cutting off ears, etc. But surprisingly all these never turned me off. This movie did not glamourise violence or make it look hip. In fact the violence isn't all consuming that the entire movie is only about violence.

I read that Eric Bana did an excellent job portraying the real man. In fact after looking at the real man's pictures, I must say the physical resemblance is there but Eric Bana has a more softer look whilst the real Chopper looked more manic in my opinion. In fact I really do not think there is much rage in his performance, but rather loads of self doubt and sarcasm. I really do not see Chopper as a man of raging repressed anger or as such although the directors who have seen this movie claimed otherwise.

This movie is really about Chopper and nobody else. It doesn't dwell into his childhood. In fact it doesn't even try to explain why this man is so violent. It doesn't really explain why he was in jail in the first place although some scenes did tell why but in passing. It doesn't really even try to justify the violence or even to show whether the killings actual took place. What this movie talks about is Chopper as a personality. What is scary about this is Eric Bana portrayed him as a very charismatic man and you kinda get sucked into whatever he is saying, almost believing whatever he is saying to be the Bible truth but yet whatever he is saying doesn't ring true and you do question his version of certain events. There is no doubt though that this movie portrays him as an egomaniac, probably in love with publicity and himself. In that sense this movie is very entertaining as you see him going through numerous problems which may or may not exist and solving such problems in a way that may or may not be as he described it. Eric Bana deserves all the accolades and yet somehow one sense that Eric Bana may have given him a softer image. I am not even sure whether the real guy is as violent as portrayed. But one thing is for sure. He doesn't do drugs.

What is rather funny about the people and the circumstances the people are in in this movie is their constant bickering, that despite all the assassination attempts or vulgar crude languages, there seems to exist a certain bond, a certain brotherhood amongst those in prison. When Chopper was stabbed numerous times by his best friend Jimmy, he didn't really retaliate. In fact he even lent Jimmy his suit when Jimmy was defending himself in the assault case brought by the state against Jimmy for hurting Chopper. There seems to be a sense that whatever violence undertaken against the other, it was like "no hard feelings mate" on the part of the victim and "I'm truly sorry mate" on the part of the one who did the violence. Quite surprising. Also whenever they got hurt, they can file a claim from the Victim's Compensation Board or something and can get a few thousand dollars! Although the movie didn't really show, I suspect these men have got good lawyers because the lawyers were able to beat the charges quite frequently. This movie can be said to be an observation of prison and its inmates in Australia and I must say, very witty observations, often time borderline ridiculous. It is not however an observation on the notion of justice and the legal system. No doubt Chopper seems to be feared by the inmates and well liked by the prison guards. In fact in one scene where he was cutting his ears off so as to get transferred for fear of geing murdered by fellow inmates, he didn't quite feel the pain but his best friend, Jimmy who has this love and hate relationship with him felt the pain and with concern asked him to please seek medical help! This Jimmy was the one who wanted to do him in! Chopper is also portrayed as a charming man and who is polite to those he wants to be such as the police, the guards and the judges. It is hard to believe he could be a career criminal with his politeness. The media certainly loved him because his books went on to become best sellers. Look at his official website. This man certainly has a flair for writing, his observations whilst written with "I don't care" attitude is also insightful and witty. Scary that with such a talent he turned to a life of crime and very boastful about it. He is out of prison now and is now a bestseller writer so maybe he has a change of career. Frankly I wouldn't want to cross his path.

The other performances were just as good. This is a very well acted movie although I do not know all of the actors save for one. I can see why this is Eric Bana's most celebrated performance. He embodies the character and has enough charm and charisma to carry the entire film. It is scary I ended up liking the character when he is such a flawed man.

Verdict
A must watch for any Eric Bana fan or those interested in the man called Chopper or quite simply for those interested in an interesting movie.

Interesting Fact
Many actually at imdb.com. Just go there, search for this movie. One very interesting was Eric Bana himself living with the real Chopper for I think 3 days to get a feel of the real man. Imagine that. I wonder how Eric Bana must have felt then since this Chopper has a formidable and violent reputation.

Apart from that, Eric Bana was a comedien and Chopper actually chose him to play him in the movie! Really!




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