Chopper Review – Eric Bana’s star-studded ride that smells of lairy charm and charisma | Movie

Wwith this unique true-crime drama from 2000, now in re-release, director Andrew Dominik made a brilliant debut. But in terms of sheer star-born influences, Dominik had nothing to do with the breakthrough that the leading man he had found, the former TV cartoonist Eric Bana, who gave the big-screen appearance of his life and smelled of delicate anti-charm and black . comic charisma.

Bana plays Mark “Chopper” Read, the notoriously violent and misogynistic Melbourne criminal whose unreliable but best-selling memoirs the film is based on. We see him in jail in the late 70s, laughing, giggling and monologue with eerie lack of fear; first launched a wild attack on rival tough guy Keithy George (David Field) in the prison association room, and then snarlingly told his creeping lieutenant Jimmy Loughnan (Simon Lyndon) that he intends to put the entire prison under siege by attacking some guards.

Instead of getting involved in this crazy plan, Jimmy tries to assassinate Chopper with a knife, but his victim resists the attack with almost superhuman strength, cuts off his own ears to get to a separate wing, successfully defends himself in court against the accusation that it was he who first attacked Jimmy, and then, when he is out of jail, his fear and random disgust for women explode, and he uses his informant status with the local police to claim that he has carte- blanche to attack villains with the blessing of the police. It’s an event that leads to uninterrupted chaotic chaos, driven by Chopper’s cola-added paranoia.

Bana is simply superb, both as the clean-shaven young sociopath with a moon face we meet first and foremost, and as the more blunt, gold-toothed, mustachioed headbanger he becomes. In every scene – cell, courtroom, risky club, miserable apartment – Bana keeps your attention effortlessly and often gets big laughs. It’s a performance comparable to Joe Pesci in GoodFellas, and in fact noticeably better than Tom Hardy’s performance as the comparable British convict Charles Bronson in Nicolas Winding Refns Bronson from 2008, who certainly drew inspiration from Chopper.

As for Bana himself, I said at the time that if he could have an American accent, he was ready. And it happened… in a way. Chopper was the dilithium crystal that drove the more than 20-year career in film and television that Eric Bana has had as a completely plausible starring role in straight roles; some are interesting, but not like Chopper. I do not think anything he has done has matched the toxic suspense and the hideous laughs he got as the scary joker and monstrous non-charmer. But why has Bana, apparently a great comic, not gone up in film comedy anymore? Did he think comedy was something he had grown out of? Did he want to avoid Chopper / larrikin typecasting? Maybe – and maybe the roles have not been there for him. A few years back, Bana hinted at a return to standup – but still nothing. However, there is still time.

Well, who cares? Chopper is a fantastic movie. I still laugh when Chopper is completely indifferent to the first stab he receives in prison, and just gently asks, “A little early in the morning for kung fu, right?” There’s his dismissal of Keithy’s bloodthirsty pain: “Pyn, whistle, damn it” And then his lofty refusal to turn on his friend Jimmy for stabbing him – for loyalty: “If your mother stabbed you, you would do not be upset … “

Chopper will be released in cinemas on March 25.

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