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Chopper (2000) – A Brutal (but Good), Australian Film About a Brutal Australian Criminal

Wow… This guy, Mark “Chopper” Read was/is a butal bastard, and this film, about him is also brutal.

Based on a book he wrote of his own life, the tale of this paranoid, brutal criminal and the wake of destruction he lived and left. From the start of the film, which has Chopper in prison, soon to stab the hell out of a rival, and then soon to be stabbed multiple times hime=self by someone he believed to be his friend, this is a bloody, violent ride. It’s hard to determine what parts were  part of his imagination and what parts happened, this adds to the story in whole. 

I’m going to cop out and paste the Wikipedia Plot synopsis (yes, there will be a spoler – be warned):

In and out of jail since he was 16, Melbourne standover man Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read (Eric Bana) is serving a 16-year sentence for kidnapping a supreme court judge to get his childhood friend, Jimmy Loughnan (Simon Lyndon), out of the notorious H Division of maximum security Pentridge Prison. To become leader of the division, he ignites a power struggle which gains him more enemies than admirers. Eventually, even his gang turn their backs on him and Loughnan stabs him several times in a failed assassination attempt. Chopper voluntarily has his ears cut off by a fellow inmate in order to be transferred out of the H Division; this also gains him recognition in and out of the prison.

Bana as Australian criminal Chopper Read in his breakthrough film role in Chopper (2000)

He is released in 1986, revisiting enemies and friends whom he cannot differentiate anymore. He reunites with his former girlfriend Tanya (Kate Beahan), but suspects that she is involved with one of his old victims, Neville Bartos (Vince Colosimo). He tracks Bartos down, shoots him and takes him to the hospital, unabashedly claiming that he has a “green light” courtesy of the Police “to exterminate scum”. When Chopper learns that he is now the target of a death-contract, he goes after his old friend Jimmy, only to find him worn out and poverty stricken by drugs with two children and a junkie fiancée.

He kills a criminal known as Siam “Sammy the Turk” Ozerkam at a bar, but gets away with it by claiming it was self-defence. He eventually ends up back in prison where he writes a book about his experiences in the Melbourne underworld. The book becomes a best-seller and Chopper becomes a criminal legend.

The film ends with Chopper in his prison cell in 1992, watching himself being interviewed on television. He is proud of the interview among those watching with him, but when they leave he goes quiet and the film ends with him sitting in his cell alone.

This is a verty watchable film, though brutal – here is the trailer:


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