Sunday, May 3, 2009


*... which translates into American as Chopper.

Another dip into the crime genre brings us this 2000 Australian import, starring Eric Bana (before Americans had any idea what an Eric Bana was).

(Photo from Cinema Blend)

Part of Chopper's greatness is derived from the above promo pic + the film's title. Combine the two and you likely imagine a brutally violent, almost sickening film about a maniacal killer running around the streets of Melbourne* offing blokes without remorse.

*This one, not that one.

Not here.

Not with a true story behind it all and Andrew Dominik at the helm.

Like Dominik's exceptional Assassination of Jesse James before it, this is more a study of celebrity than of crime and violence. Bana plays the real-life Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read, a wisecracking, (sometimes) fearless dude who (according to the film) kidnaps a judge, spends some time in the joint, gains media attention through an in-prison attempt on his life, then decides he wants a little more.

And he gets it, killing at least one possible enemy on the outside ... then writing a best-selling book (and later, more books) saying he murdered 19 fellow criminals. He becomes a cult hero. Kind of like ... Jesse James.

In the hands of the formula slaves, this could have been a mockery. But writer-director Dominik -- who, judging by his two-movie filmography, clearly wants to make his movie and doesn't care about box office (thank God) -- stays faithful to story, not violence. Not that it doesn't have its share of blood. It's just not excessive or unrealistic.

Oh, and it helps that Bana is awesome.

*Highly NSFW*

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