Chopper Reviews

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May 5, 2013
A character portrait that absorbs, but ultimately disappoints. And with good reason: stripping away the cudly, loquacious exterior exposes the madman beneath. Every invitation to identify with the anti-hero protagonist is ultimately frustrated by his lack of coherent moral code. Everything is amorphous in the most self-seeking/ -serving way imaginable. The only discernable pattern is a compulsive desire to recant his own impulses, both good and bad, for better or for worse, usually within seconds. Every brutal act provokes immediate contrition; every apology begets a fresh outpouring of violence. The existence of a man like Chopper, the personification of pure capriciousness, unadulterated by any comforting suspiscion that the whole thing might be just ediface, a constructed and pretentious facade, is deeply unsettling. The viewer will think twice before allowing him or herself become embroiled with the odd beligerant at the bar. You never know who you're dealing with, and Chopper upsets all calculations to the contrary.
May 24, 2015
An unforgettable transformative performance from Eric Bana is what makes this film powerful.
March 19, 2015
Andrew Dominik's striking visuals work in tandem with a rightfully praised breakthrough lead performance - "Chopper" is a fairly interesting watch.
January 29, 2015
A harrowing tale with a great lead performance from Eric Bana. Full review later.
December 31, 2014
I just found this film quite unappealing and uninteresting all the film does is act violent and that is pretty much it
September 17, 2014
This cult classic, with all its fancy camera work to help shift reality, doesn't age as well as you may have thought back in 2001. But Chopper's character work, its strong story and its high taste for visual flair makes it an extremely enjoyable take on the character of Mark "Chopper" Read. Mark is a notorious crook and after spending quite a turbulent time in H block, he is set free among the world. This film highlights how he interacts with modern day life, Mark trying to live a normal life while constantly having to look over his shoulders and of course it touches on his best selling novel. Eric Bana puts in a stormer of a performance here, some would say for the time it paved the way for the aussie actor. He encapsulates the young and old Chopper brilliantly, not just in body mass but in full character embodiment. At no point during this film do you sit and go, Eric Bana is doing a brilliant job, that is because as an audience member you are so invested in his performance you feel like you are watching the real thing. The supporting cast are enjoyable enough, but like many films that contain such an iconic role, they just dont live up to the leads power house performance. The mood is brilliant, this feels like an early Bronson, it has Nicholas Winding Refn all over it and I wouldnt be surprised if he hadn't taken some form of inspiration from this cracker. Set's are lit perfectly for the mood, from cold grey cells to warm fire glow red clubs, visually it captures the mood everywhere Mark Read goes. The camera work is fantastic too, in fact dynamic moves are used sparingly but skillfully to create a real sense of either urgency or fear.The tone of the film is also perfect, it flips between comedy and brutal thriller like a coin tossing in mid air. My gripe would be that there isnt more of this movie, we feel it build and build and then before we know it, the legend just kind of fizzles out. Maybe thats the point but I left feeling just a bit deflated. So aside from Eric Bana running rings round his co stars and a slightly deflating ending, Chopper is a cult classic that you pretty much have to get behind, even if it has dated slightly.
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2014
Although less intelligent and fancy, and a whole lot more insecure, Eric Bana plays aussie career criminal "chopper" as some kind of modern day Alex DeLarge. Joie de vivre, disproportionate ego and paranoia ignite a cinematic cocktail with a brutal, darkly humourous and strangely engrossing taste.
½ June 10, 2014
Eric Bana's shocking and drastic change, with the weight and body art, to portray the most notorious and twisted Australian criminals is only matched with his somewhat alluring and abnormal performance.
½ May 8, 2014
Chopper (Andrew Dominik, 2000)
[originally posted 12Dec2001]

Andrew Dominik makes his writing and directing debut with the fictionalized biography of Mark "Chopper" Read, well-known Australian criminal and bestselling novelist. Eric Bana, soon to be seen in a theater near you in Ang Lee's version of The Hulk, stars as Chopper, a man who dreams of being the world's best-known (and loved) criminal. Problem is, he just can't seem to get anyone to take him seriously. The astute viewer will spend much of the film wondering why, and then realized that the "fictionalized" part of the biography is Chopper himself; it would be hard to argue with the hypothesis that, if Chopper were really as witty and intelligent as the film makes him out to be, he probably WOULD be the world's best-known and best-loved criminal. Bana throws one-liners even faster than Red Skelton did, and he rarely misses a good shot (verbally, anyway). Through the eyes of Dominik, Mark Read really is the "good bloke down on his luck" in which he's portrayed in interviews.

Then the astute viewer starts thinking. Is this really the case of hero worship that it seems to be? The script says yes; the direction, on the other hand, says Dominik is just as astute a filmmaker as he expects his viewers to be. Between the lines of the script are beautiful nonverbal depictions of the hopelessness and frustration that dog Chopper's every footstep, from the look on Bana's face during the initial confrontation to the film's last shot, of Read sitting alone in a cell, backlit and looking as forlorn as the day is long. Dominik is obviously very familiar with the conventions of noir, and he uses them here effectively, giving the movie a depth and flavor that turns it from an enjoyable romp through one man's megalomania into a more balanced portrait. Very nicely done, and hopefully (assuming Read isn't as astute as the rest of the viewers, natch) we'll be hearing more from Dominik in the future. *** 1/2
April 28, 2014
Written and directed by Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) and Killing Them Softly (2012)), and based upon the autobiographical books by Mark "Chopper" Read. This crime drama is very compelling and also gripping and violent. It got itself a cult following, and it made a star out of Eric Bana, who was a TV comedian in Australia up until then. When Mark Brandon Read (Bana) was sent to prison for 16 years in the mid 1970's for kidnapping a supreme court judge. While behind bars, he gains a nasty reputation, and he doesn't seem to feel pain. He even cuts off his own ears in order to be transfered, and it gets him the nickname of Chopper. He's eventually released from jail in 1986, but Chopper can't seem to tell the difference between friends and enemies anymore. He even suspects that his longtime girlfriend Tanya (Kate Beahan) is having an affair with one of his victims Neville Bartos (Vince Colosimo). But, it's not long before Chopper ends up back behind bars after another murder. It shouldn't be an entertaining film, but it is, and it has some very good performances in it, and Bana is scarily effective in the lead role, and he rises to the challenge of playing Australia's most notorious criminal, who passed away recently. Even Dominik manages to do well with the source material, making it his own.
April 8, 2014
Bit of an Australian "Bronson". Good debut from Bana and Dominik. "Bana radiates the sort of warped charisma that explains how an ultraviolent convict could capture the public's imagination."
April 1, 2012
Eric Bana's flashy, dynamic, unpredictable and boarder line psychotic performance is matched by the film's direction and screenplay. Domink achieves excellence on every level in providing us with a fine addition to Australian Cinema.
July 7, 2012
Eric Bana is Mark "Chopper" Read - A rather nasty criminal who wrote his autobiography whilst serving time in prison. It's Eric Bana's best role to date and must be seen for that fact alone. Whether his autobiography was factual or not he certainly made a name for himself. It has a bizarre mix of comedy and down right ferocity that certainly makes for an interesting watch.
November 6, 2013
In light of the recent passing of uncle chop chop i decided to revisit this movie having not watched it since i was about 12 (Bad parenting I know) and was not at all disappointed. Eric Bana leads an all australian cast who give this movie a real sense of authenticity. Vince Colosimo and Simon Lyndon are standouts as Neville (Fucking) Bartos and the not so likeable junky Jimmy Loughnan but the accolades rightly go to Bana in one of the performances of his career. This movie is not without floors as the storyline somewhat misses the point as to why you make these movies in the first place. Opportunities to really explore Mark Read's character and the underworld he immersed himself in are lost in a story that really just glorifies a criminal rather than explains him. In saying that I enjoyed this film and laughed out loud at some of "Choppers" psychotic one liners.
½ October 19, 2013
The movie is decent, but Eric Bana is legendary.
October 10, 2013
Really great movie, funny and scary at the same time.
July 18, 2012
Twisted ,shocking amd stylishly crafted, Chopper massively benefits from Eric Bana's portrayal of the gritty famous australian criminal Chopper Read which will leave you speechless. Another great Australian crime film
May 4, 2013
Manages a really weird blend of harsh violence and sympathetic charm. A thoroughly disturbing portrait of duality and insanity.
½ September 27, 2013
I never heard of Mark "Chopper" Read, and after watching this movie, I can't say I learned much about him. There's some quirkiness and fine performances for sure, but I didn't quite get the point, perhaps some Australian humor was lost on me.
August 28, 2013
Interesting performance by Eric Bana as a notorious Australian criminal and bestselling author.
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