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Mark (eventually nicknamed Chopper) Read (Eric Bana) dreams of making a name for himself as a legendary crime figure. His journey is brutal and bizarre, as he tries in vain to capture that elusive Al Capone quality, having to settle, instead, for a Fawlty Towers version of a standover man. This does not preclude him being violent and sadistic, but it does prevent him reaching the dark heights he seeks to attain. In and out of jail, Chopper is always on edge, and sometimes he can even see the joke himself. But the fact that he is a better selling autobiographical author than crim (and proud of it) is testament to his absurdity.

Here it is Ė and itís in widescreen, so you get the picture director Andrew Dominik intended. Youíll want to remind yourself whatís so bloody chilling about this non-biopic.

It begins with the disclaimer that it is not a biography as some narrative liberties have been taken. So it is perhaps not the most accurate ever made, but considering the subject is still alive and not only approves of it, but will be heard discussing on the DVD coming out late in 2001 for sale, it is one of the more interesting ones, certainly as far as Australia is concerned.

The argument about this film glorifying a criminal misses the point: the film isnít glorifying a criminal any more than a dramatisation of Hitlerís life glorifies the Fuhrer. The role of filmmakers is not to as filters and arbiters but as storytellers, sometimes posing questions which have no easy answers.

What I like about films like this on DVD is that after all the heat has cooled and you can see them in the privacy of your home (in DVD quality, that is) you get a second chance to probe the film and your own responses to it, remembering there is more to it than the highlights or the trailer. Like the extraordinary scene in jail when Chopper is stabbed several times by another inmate (played by Simon Lyndon). From the beginning to the end of that scene, your lounge room will be dead quiet.
Andrew L. Urban

Published March 29, 2001

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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia


CAST: Eric Bana, Simon Lyndon, David Field, Dan Wyllie, Bill Young, Vince Colosimo
DIRECTOR: Andrew Dominik
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: March 21, 2001

Language: English 5.1 / 2 Channel Stereo

(Please note: This is the Rental Version only. See our NEWS STORY for more information.)

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