65. Chopper (2000)

The Austrayan underbelly is a one man show

8/10
Directed by: Andrew Dominik
Written by: Mark Brandon Read (books), Andrew Dominik
Starring: Eric Bana, Simon Lyndon and David Field

Good violent fun

Mark ‘Chopper’ Read is one of Australia’s most successful authors. He’s also had a violent criminal past that was stuck in Melbourne’s drug scene, firearm offences and even kidnappings. Even when he landed himself in jail, he created a prison gang and started wars. A lot more interesting than your average novelist.

As the film Chopper gives a creative and fictional edge to the true stories published by the man himself, what unfolds is more of an exploration of character than anything plot-driven or intensely dramatised. But that’s not such a bad thing when his immersive personality and brash witticism make up the film’s unique sense of humour, and a complex sense of character that seems addicted and attached to crime as a form of identity-construction and expression.

From his violent behaviour in prison to his release back into a society that leaves him vulnerable to his enemies, Chopper is visceral, distinct and deeply affecting in its visual direction, Eric Bana’s performance and the film’s wonderfully written dialogue which is stamped with Australia’s unmistakable slang and accent. In short, it’s a bloody great film.

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