Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.
Chopper tells the intense 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. Written by
Mark Brandon Read, nicknamed "Chopper", was a notorious criminal in Australia who after spending most of his life in prison, went on publishing books with anecdotes of those years becoming a successful writer of Best-Sellers. While he has been accused of exaggerating things about his life in his books, the stories presented still are realistic and shocking, and give insight about the mind of this complex and often-troubled man, regardless if if they are real or fiction. "Chopper", the movie, is not based exactly on Read's life, but in the series of anecdotes he wrote in his first books.
Eric Bana plays Chopper and gives one of his best performances to date, capturing the very essence of the living legend Chopper has become now. It is not a surprise that this film gave him recognition out of Australia and turned him into an international star. but even when the movie is centered around Chopper, Simon Lyndon and Kate Beahan's performances shine in their roles as Chopper's cell mate Jimmy and Chopper's girlfriend Tanya respectively.
Like Read's books, the movie is not exactly a biography, but a collection of tales surrounding the now-mythical figure of "Chopper", presented in a way that perfectly mixes strange surrealism with harsh realism. The gritty semi-documentary look the film has enhances this feeling as well as the cold way the violence is presented. Like the real Chopper, the film walks the fine line between fact and fiction, and that's what makes it very appealing and interesting.
It could be said that Director Andrew Dominik painted an accurate portrait of "Chopper" the legend, not of the real person; and that's probably what the real Chopper may prefer. Domink plays with the moods, going from serious drama to awkwardly funny scenes in this character study that presents us a charming yet dangerous man, who probably has been through more than what we would like to do, yet less than what he would likes us to believe.
The film is very intense and "tough", and very good at it; Bana is perfect as Chopper and shows great promise as an actor. His characterization makes very difficult to don't like this common man with a very uncommon life. Director Dominik makes a straight-to-the-face film that stays true to Chopper's persona (fictional or not), and does it without being pretentious or manipulative. It basically lets Chopper's charisma speak for itself playing with the audience's fascination with crime and violence.
If as flaw was to be found, it would be that it never tries to go beyond its goal or push too much the envelope. It is not much of a flaw, as the results are still brilliant, but leaves one wondering at how far could it had gone considering the talent of those involved. Anyways, Eric Bana and Andrew Dominik are set to a bright future and this film is a brilliant start for these two new talents. 7/10
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