October 9, 2013

Charismatic psychopath

Chopper (Andrew Dominik, 2000): Comedian Eric Bana plays the man dubbed (possibly by himself) “Australia’s most infamous living criminal” as a charismatic psychopath. The entertaining violence is like a dare, performed for our benefit: making a name for himself in Melbourne’s Pentridge prison, Mark “Chopper” Read kills another inmate, is betrayed and stabbed by a friend and stoically removes his own ear to get a transfer. Upon release, he assaults his girlfriend, shoots a drug dealer, kills another man and goes back inside. So it goes. By 2000, he had spent exactly half of his 46 years in prison and claims to have killed 19 people (an exaggeration, apparently). He had also published nine bestsellers with titles like How to Shoot Friends and Influence People and No Tears for a Tough Guy. So he’s a lovable rogue and he’s a psycho and a bullshit artist and there is something peculiarly Australian about the combination. He is the architect and main consumer of his own legend. (edited from original review published in 2000)