This Australian real life horror flick Chopper gave Hollywood megastar Eric Bana his breakout role, starring as Mark “Chopper” Read, a genuine serial killer who not only advised on the film but even suggested the actor for the role having seen him in a sitcom
This Australian real life horror flick Chopper gave Hollywood megastar Eric Bana his breakout role, starring as Mark “Chopper” Read, a genuine serial killer who not only advised on the film but even suggested the actor for the role having seen him in a sitcom. Read had written a best selling book about his experiences which was adapted by director Andrew Dominik into the screenplay.
Eric Bana is absolutely stunning in the part, 100% believable showing how wasted he is in some of his later efforts which don’t exercise his innate acting skills half as much as this movie. The character of Read is repulsive in the extreme, flares into anger violence and has a dubious moral code, feeling that he has the right to track down and exterminate those who he himself judges to be scum, yet somehow Bana brings such charisma to the part that Read becomes almost likeable and at times, sympathetic. The film is laced with a streak of dark humour that at times is laugh out loud funny, reliving the otherwise intense tension and providing much needed light and shade, confident and powerful.
What raises the film above others in it’s genre is it’s handling of the subject. At no point is an attempt made to glamorise Read or his grotesque activities, despite it’s sometimes surrealistic visual style it’s an accurate and balanced portrait of a man driven by tremendous inner forces to commit acts of horrific violence. The script is brilliantly written and tight, nothing is wasted here. The supporting cast are all excellent though overshadowed by Bana and a special shout must go to Simon Lyndon, David field and particularly Vince Colosimo as the obnoxious Neville Bartos.
Director Andrew Dominik pioneered a technique which he called “Visual overload” for the scenes where Read goes on his biggest rampage in 1986, while everything shot in the confines of the prison was given a deliberately grey and lacklustre colour palette. Due to the nature of the material, the film isn’t going to be for everyone, it’s dark and violent and incredibly intense with the direction matching Bana’s performance in painting a picture of Read’s brutal world but it’s incredibly well written, produced and performed. It was released in 2000 to critical acclaim all over the world and any fan of real life horror should check it out.