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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.35%
Average: 12.9%
Pretty Bad: 0.81%
Total Crap: 5.65%

8 reviews, 76 user ratings

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by iF Magazine

"Artful, audacious and awful violent."
5 stars

CHOPPER. It wowed 'em at film festivals in Toronto and Sundance. And it left much of the iF staff devastated. So much so we decided it would take two critics to properly review it. So here goes with another installment from our dueling scribes "Psycho and Egghead"...

PSYCHO: Howdy film buffs. Itís your old pals Drew, you can call me "Psycho" and my brain pan challenged fellow critic Bill, you can call him "Egghead." Say howdy snob boy.

EGGHEAD: Greetings and salutations. Todayís film is CHOPPER, a crime drama based on the supposed exploits of one Mark "Chopper" Read, a notorious Australian underworld figure who turned author while incarcerated.

PSYCHO: While wha-?

EGGHEAD: Incarcerated. He was in jail.

PSYCHO: Right. CHOPPER is one bitchiní film. It starts in jail, immediately launches into a fight and never lets up. I loved it.

EGGHEAD: A little more history first, my simple friend. Mr. Read has written more than 10 novels in his native land of Australia and just how much is true and how much is jail house bravado has been a source there of national consternation.

PSYCHO: Hellís belles, that ainít nothiní constipated about Chopper.

EGGHEAD: I said consternation notÖ

PSYCHO: Just donít start getting all arty on my Chopper. Uh, I mean Choppah. Hey how do you like my Aussie accent mate? Put another Shemp on Barbie.

EGGHEAD: Moving on, we should mention the two chief attributes of CHOPPER the film. One, is the amazing debut performance by Eric Bana as the metal toothed, tatoo-covered murderous thug. For the part the ex-stand-up comic gained more than 40 pounds, shaved his head and ...

PSYCHO: And donít forget that in one scene he shaved his ears too. That was in-tense.

EGGHEAD: Well his character slices his ears off in order to be transferred to a safer area in the prison that is true, Iím speaking of the amazing transformation Mr. Bana went under in order to play ...

PSYCHO: Oh Jesus, get on with it all ready. This film starts violent and funny and never, ever lets up. After the early prison scenes it jumps ahead eight years as he starts taking revenge out on the "mates" who put him there and man, when he gets going, look out. Nobodyís safe.

EGGHEAD: Indeed. His brutality is hardly reserved for just the other villains in the piece or for men in general for that matter. Audiences are going to be hard pressed to stomach the violence in general and the violence against women in particular.

PSYCHO: Like when he smacks around his girlfriend. And his girlfriendís mum. That was funny.

EGGHEAD: Heavens. Certainly not funny in the traditional sense and that brings me to the filmís other main attribute: first time writer/director Andrew Dominik. A New Zealand native who moved to Australia when he was just two, heís something of a rock video wunderkundÖ

PSYCHO: A what?

EGGHEAD: Hmm. Letís see if I can put it in your vernacular. Heís a bitchiní video and commercial director.

PSYCHO: Right. It DID look cool.

EGGHEAD: Well let me address that. Dominik has done something very bold with this, his debut film. Heís made a crime drama laced with black humor that recalls early Scorsese, Samuel Fuller and Tarantino. But then he goes further.

PSYCHO: Huh? Where?

EGGHEAD: Weíre used to American films where violence erupts and then they move on. Not so here. There is extreme violence ...

PSYCHO: Like when he gets repeatedly knifed in prison.

EGGHEAD: Correct. But then interestingly, Dominik chooses to linger. In the filmís most shocking scene, the one youíre alluding to, Bana then removes his shirt to reveal gaping stab wounds.

PSYCHO: He looked like a chest full of fish gills.

EGGHEAD: Very true, very realistic looking. But then he does something else. He has Bana react not in a panicky fashion but instead act oblivious and good humored. He just canít fathom why his friends would turn on him. It elevates both the horror and the humor of the situation.

PSYCHO: I thought it meant that the director was a sick fuck.

EGGHEAD: And all of this is compounded by the very dark, realistic color of the blood and the cinematography in general which is very grainy and hard. It exists in a place thatís both beautiful and ugly at the same time. All dark blues, blacks and greens. In some ways it resembles the high contrast, reversal film look of rock videos but itís never obnoxiously flashy or ...

PSYCHO: Youíre getting all arty on me again Professor. Can we just talk about how it rocks from beginning to end?

EGGHEAD: Its willingness to go to depths other films just gloss over make it one of the most important films of the year.

PSYCHO: Yikes. Does this mean you and I actually agree?

EGGHEAD: Actually, disturbingly enough, I think we both like it, but for very different reasons. I hope you realize this isnít just another nihilistic horror show for you and your friends to get their kicks on.

PSYCHO: And what if it was? Wanna fight?

EGGHEAD: Please.

PSYCHO: Say pretty please or Iíll smack ya one mate.

EGGHEAD: Grade please. PSYCHO: Grade "A" for Awful violent, Awful cool and Awful fun. EGGHEAD: And an "A" from me for Artful, Audacious and Arguably one of the best films of 2001.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/14/01 04:20:07
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For more in the Australian series, click here.

User Comments

12/29/17 Tom Philpott Total snd utter Australian crap. BANAVICH IS OVERRATED 100% 1 stars
9/14/17 morris campbell A good portrait Bana is excellent 4 stars
3/14/07 leah dat shit was mean 5 stars
8/07/06 ERIN SWEENEY A new classic,it is now on my favorite and must have list 5 stars
7/03/06 Reklc Just say Chopp, Chopp and you got a great flick. 5 stars
6/30/05 Janek Who says crime doesnt pay!! 5 stars
5/11/05 Nick You yanks cannot understand your own pathetic country. Give up and eat another big mac. 5 stars
11/01/04 tom butler fucken ace 5 stars
10/20/04 peter brown fu**ing wild. brilliant film 5 stars
3/23/04 jane absolutely brilliant... 5 stars
3/01/04 michael scott never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn eh. 5 stars
1/08/04 james s awsome 5 stars
1/07/04 Rajneesh Chopra Intakhab IV Dad! 5 stars
12/30/03 tony why isnt there a chopper 2/ 1 was excellant 5 stars
10/16/03 Beck It was absolutley fantastic - Eric Bana Rocks 5 stars
10/12/03 dale auty bloody excellent 5 stars
8/28/03 melissa Best Eva Chop Chop is the best -run for prime-minister 5 stars
8/15/03 Drew Cady best movie ever 5 stars
7/26/03 bill jones great 4 stars
7/03/03 Tim Seed I absolutely agree with Chris Parry 5 stars
6/29/03 fran drescher i played with myself because itwas that good 5 stars
6/26/03 terry a stringer the world would be a safer place with people like him 5 stars
6/23/03 karen mcdonald brilliant but wheres the other stuff they left out ? 4 stars
4/25/03 mr. Pink Tried to be hip very hard. Too much style, not much substance. Bana was OK 2 stars
4/10/03 Melinda Coady The Govt wanted his $ from this film so Chopper donated it to Child.Hospital. On ya Chopper 5 stars
4/03/03 ohyeah fricken awesome. GIVE ME MORE 5 stars
3/05/03 @#$%^&*!@ I LOVE CHOPPER 5 stars
2/11/03 adam rodwell more,more 5 stars
11/15/02 j.watson shit hot 5 stars
11/12/02 Amber Grassam Great film. Shame alot of things that went on were left out 4 stars
8/02/02 beau mather absolutely fucking wickedly brutally excellent!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/25/02 larry get part two rolling 5 stars
4/02/02 The Bomb 69 interesting storyline but the movie was all over the place, how did he get away with this?? 3 stars
2/16/02 Belinda Jane Chopper let us see the Chopper he wants us to think he is...... 4 stars
1/28/02 Denise Xerri fucking brilliant 5 stars
1/17/02 Davin Boscence Just Bloody Terrific!!! 5 stars
1/13/02 Peter Stisnijovski A movie that you can't sleep thru it (ENJOYED IT and it was funny, but real) 5 stars
12/15/01 denis jared one of the best moves ive seen and the books a must 5 stars
11/25/01 Karl Kissick Greatest Film i've seen in a long time!! 5 stars
11/01/01 Choppers_Girl_Fan The best movie ever 5 stars
10/14/01 Angela Davis the best filck I've ever seen. 10out of 10 5 stars
10/02/01 stephen dilworth excellent 5 stars
9/16/01 renee white i love chopper he is the best 5 stars
8/16/01 anthony west very good 5 stars
5/12/01 The King Great movie, definately worth the money 4 stars
5/07/01 fleakitty charismatic rogue or sociopathic demon? eric bana(na)'s perfect as always. talented man! 5 stars
4/30/01 Mike A none too shabby 5 stars
4/22/01 ricky whitfort very funny movie not far from the truth 4 stars
4/18/01 Robbo Very good 4 stars
4/10/01 Pweter Harshly realistic, incrediable character, unquie 5 stars
4/01/01 wade "bucketbongbouncer" macdonald its tha fuckin best movie 5 stars
3/31/01 fred a bit eerie!!!! 5 stars
2/25/01 Wade Barry like him or not ... absolutley AMAZING ! look at the awards...enuff said 5 stars
2/09/01 hum very well crafted film. be warned, it is as unpleasant as it should be 4 stars
1/30/01 Rubber Fucking Great!!! 5 stars
1/08/01 Jeff Best movie of the year 5 stars
10/12/00 m larsen loved it!!!! 5 stars
9/26/00 Lolita Martinez It was bloody phenomenal!!!!! 5 stars
8/27/00 Timbo Great but the violence made me wince. Fascinating characters, strong acting 4 stars
8/23/00 Geoff Stewart Didn't glorify just lacked any point, do I really give a shit about Chopper Read? 3 stars
8/21/00 Gribbles bloody fantastic mate 5 stars
8/17/00 justin athanitis it is the best movie that i have ever had the pleasure of being able to watch. excelent. 5 stars
8/17/00 neil bartlett an awesome performance from Eric Bana 4 stars
8/15/00 Mick Edwards Eric Bana - Russell Crowe watch out!!! 5 stars
8/14/00 K. Johnson Rather good 5 stars
8/13/00 Belinda And.........the AFI goes to "Eric Bana" 4 stars
8/12/00 ashley james kennedy i have seen it once and plan togo back (still a very good move 5 stars
8/11/00 Nick Excellent 5 stars
8/09/00 Scot Tindall an underdeveloped character study 3 stars
8/07/00 Viling Stop glorifying psychos !!!! 3 stars
8/05/00 ashley james kennedy very good 5 stars
8/04/00 matthew smith the best Australian film in many years, confronting and very funny. 5 stars
7/31/00 filmnet cutting edge filmaking that even chris parry might like! 5 stars
7/23/00 TIGGER Whoa! Soooo cool! I have seen it 5 times and I will see it more! 5 stars
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  11-Apr-2001 (R)
  DVD: 13-Nov-2001


  03-Aug-2000 (R)

Directed by
  Andrew Dominik

Written by
  Andrew Dominik

  Eric Bana
  Simon Lyndon
  Daniel Wyllie
  Vince Colosimo
  David Field
  Bill Young

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