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CHOPPER   Print  E-mail 
Written by Graham Reed  
Monday, 05 July 2004

 He's Brutal. Violent. You'd like him.Get it chop chop!

With a list of absolute nobodies starring, this small Australian film - dramatising the life of notorious criminal psychopath-cum- vigilante-cum best selling author Mark Brandon Reid,nicknamed "chopper" for his habit of chopping off his victims toes before he killed them - is an absolute gem. A runaway hit in Australia, it would be an absolute travesty if it didn't receive the same reception here.

 

From the bleached colours of the opening prison sequence and the ominous music by ex-bad seed Mick Harvey, It starts with Choppers experiences in Prison, but it is no grim prison movie, not like "the Green mile". Eric Bana simply oozes believability, likeability and charisma as the eponymous Chopper, for despite his psychopathic tendencies, you'll root for him.

 

Mark Chopper Reid is never unlikeable; coming across as the lovable rogue we all root for while not condoning his actions. He's the kind of guy who'll slash you across the face, leave you bleeding to death, and then say "sorry".

  

And offer you a cigarette, or drive you to hospital. Of course, he'll do so in a charmingly and loveable manner. Eric Bana puts across a stunningly believable performance as Chopper, making him the standout of this film and one to watch in the future, especially in taking weight gain as character acting to the lengths the likes of DeNiro or Russell Crowe would deem too far.

 

With an anti-hero you root for, inventive use of flashbacks and timelapse bullettime photography - the drugs sequence where everyone seems talking out of synch while the dialogue remains normal is subtly effective and inspired, as well as understated by not resorting to less subtle tricks such as Terry Gilliam's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" did.  

  

Chopper looks after himself with a casual disregard for human life while never meaning people any seeming harm (after all, its all water under the bridge as many characters say), despite the sequence where in the middle of a meeting with the police he commits an act of public indeceny while not batting an eyelid to impress (or disgust?) a girl. Laced with none more black humour, this film would be a comedy if it Chopper wasn't so damn inept at being a criminal. Even confessing to a murder in front of the police, they don't believe him in the slightest.

 

 For all his violence and immorality, he seems just, well human and flawed, just like everyone. The ending centerpiece in a nightclub carpark is told effectively and inventively, being told over and over again from everyone's perspective, and only goes to reaffirm that film is indeed worthy of the praise thrown at it.

 

If, like some, you expect to see a glamorous stylised gangster movie like Snatch, then forget it. Its not glamorous. It's a film where there are no winners, only losers, and told like it is. A brilliant performance by Eric Bana as Chopper packs as much punch as Russell Crowe debut in "Romper Stomper", and we all know where he is nowadays,and that Bana perfectly recreates the inexplicable charimsa of Chopper makes it none the less effective. Inventive and offbeat direction combined with the screenplay by first timer Andrew Dominik,which never flinches from showing us the unpleasant bloodiness of Choppers existence is well worth of praise also.

 

Put quite simply - If you get the chance watch it. It's a cult classic in the making. Confident, cocky, self assured, and a notch above the usual multiplex braindead FX laden blockbuster, this is a contender for biggest surprise of many a year. And the DVD is stacked with extra stuff - and its a bargain price at 5.99.

 

If you don't own this, I'll send him round. And you won't want that.

 

BONUS MATERIALS:-

 

Audio commentary by director Andrew Dominik

Audio Commentary by the real Mark "Chopper" Read

"A Weekend With Chopper" featurette

Deleted scenes

 

Comments
emily griffiths
Written by Guest on 2004-12-08 09:43:36
WindyGT
Written by Guest on 2004-12-22 22:04:33
An absolutely fanstastib movie. You've got it spot on. The jail scenes have a real, chilling feeling about them. 
 
Not sure what I think about your first line though; "With a list of absolute nobodies..."(??) Eric Bana has been huge in Oz for quite a few years, but has recently starred in "Troy" & was the Hulk in the re-make of "The Incredible Hulk". "....one to watch in the future", one to watch now. :)
perish
Written by Guest on 2005-02-09 21:22:01
what you seem to be missing is that this is a true story, written by mark 'chopper' reid himself, a notorious melbourne (victoria) underworld figure who was actually never done for any of the murders which he has boasted about. and eric banna's performance was an actual portrayal of marks true character. eric actually spent months with mark leading up to the comencement of filming.
chopper
Written by Guest on 2005-02-22 14:00:57
my fav movie,its classic .you gotta love chop. 
 
as chop said "i took you from tears to glory " :)
chopper
Written by Guest on 2005-02-24 19:47:08
mark is one of the most outlawed crims he is the best bloke his movie is fantastic!its great to see he stands up for what he believes in. :grin
neville bartos
Written by Guest on 2005-02-24 19:49:47
your a blody show pony mark you wait mate i think you are a blody fuckin show pony anyone who thinks different is a idiot? :(
guest
Written by Guest on 2005-02-24 19:54:56
mark you are my fuckin idol you are a true australian hero mate i want to be just like you when im older any way see you chazza :p
uncle chop chop
Written by Guest on 2005-03-29 21:40:47
:)  
why would i shoot someone and whizz them off to the hospital, i mean it defeats the purpose of shooting him in the first place.
underrated
Written by Guest on 2005-03-31 09:56:08
What a pity this film hasnt gotten more expossure, people who liked resevoir dogs would definetly like chopper. Great film but hasnt gotten the recognition it deserves
oz film database
Written by Guest on 2005-04-18 13:46:58
i dunno if you can get to here without logging in... 
 
chopper entry: 
http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/film/dbase/2001/chopper.html 
 
the rest of the database: 
http://wwwmcc.murdoch.edu.au/ReadingRoom/film/OzFilm.html
towty
Written by Guest on 2005-04-26 20:23:18
[fucken awcome , chop ur a aussie Icon] can't say much for nevel fucking bartos :) :roll :)
Load of crap
Written by Guest on 2005-04-30 11:42:46
Having read the book and watched the film does anyone else believe that lies and a serious amount of stretching the truth has taken place?!
i love you
Written by Guest on 2005-05-17 10:49:17
i watch chopper all the time and read his books he turns me on too much i think i love him
Top Stuff
Written by Guest on 2005-05-23 09:25:08
Chopper, i think him and I would would get along great... He's a man with morals and respect. If your good to him he'd be your best friend. and look out for you.. Cross him... well who'd want to do that.. not fucking me thats for sure... 
Top Stuff :p
The Movie Was Cool ! ! :)
Written by Guest on 2005-06-07 03:54:48
Yeah the movie was bloody great.  
Needs to be longer though!!
Only need one more book to complete the set though! Catch ya later, from DLock
FUCK NEVILLE BARTOS
Written by lyricalmessiah on 2005-10-24 13:32:45
neville, ur a fucken piece of scum shit, i will wipe the fucken floor with you bitch, eat a fucken dick, 
 
dissin fucken chopper, what a fagget, he is a fucken legend, my nickname my all my mates is chopper, i have a nasty habbit of jumpin outa cars at lights with samarui swords and machettes, plus a shootin on my record doesnt help the case, neville, eat a fucken dick bitch, 
 
chopper rocks, holla
Some Info on Chop
Written by shedevilvamp on 2005-11-15 06:09:43
Chopper didnt get his nick name from Chopping toes, he actually had the nick name long before he did that. It comes from the Cartoon "Yakky & Chopper" where Chopper was a Dog that protected the lil yellow duck. The Movie is Half Lies and Half truth, Chop wont tell you which is which though. He is a Great Bloke I have met him twice, he Now does Shows around Australia, where he talks about his life and auctions off some of his pictures. Also Neville and Chop are mates, he has even guest appeared on his comedy tour. As you would see the pix on www.chopperread.com. Also there is talks of Chop doing a new movie "CHOPPER: the untold Story", now that would be good. Chopper had a brand of Beer out Called Chopper Heavy, you can still get it, but its rare. Also Chopper has a Brand of Nuts too. (see my site for more info). 
Also 12 books later, a great author. 
AND 2 Music CD's. legend! 
AND a board game in the making! 
Now for more info go to: My Chopper Site. and dont forget to GET YOUR BLOODY EARS OFF :x :grin
respect to chop
Written by DeviouS on 2006-01-01 20:19:57
First of all the movie was badass!! chopper is the man!! neville you musta been dropped on your head many a time as a lil girl. :?  
 
shedevilvamp some nice info thx for that! ;)

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