Chopper (Australia, 2000)

chopper-movieDirected by: Andrew Dominik. I’m a pretty big fan of Andrew Dominik, based solely on his Jesse James movie that was shot partly in my hometown, and which I think hosted some of the best acting performances, couched between some of the best visual storytelling, in the 21st century so far (and which received a criminally low amount of cultural regard). And, as I watched this movie, I realized that I’m also a pretty big fan of Eric Bana, who I had no idea was Australian. I’m mainly thinking of Munich, that great anti-Spielberg Spielberg film, which is again, one of my favourite movies of this young century, and Bana does stuff in that film, and in this film, that I can’t imagine anyone else doing. The character of Chopper, as developed in this film, is a tremendously complex and unfathomable character. This movie was recommended to me after my praise of Bronson, a very similar story, but told in a very different way. While Bronson is very captivating, very unique, and very bizarre in its own way, it isn’t rooted in realism, it’s very openly non-representational and confrontational and self aware. There’s nothing at all wrong with this—it just doesn’t float my boat the way that more gritty, “realistic” movies do. And as far as that goes, this film is very playful as well, playing with that whole “unrealistic narrator” theme in a pretty compelling way. I love how ambiguous this film is in its storytelling, how you can never really, really align yourself with Chopper, but at the same time, you’re always on the edge of your seat, more or less, totally compelled to watch him and see how he reacts to the course that his life is taking. Most of all, though, I really have a bit of a visual fetish for low-budget celluloid first-films with interesting low key lighting. There are parts of this movie that reminded me of that excitement I felt seeing Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels for the first time as a teenager, that feeling of grittiness—you don’t just see the film, you see the film stock being handled by a person, the editing room, the emulsion of the liquid developer, the physical cuts, etc. If you’re interested in character studies of strange and unusual individuals, you’d probably like this.



2 responses to “Chopper (Australia, 2000)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2013 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Closed Circuit (UK/USA, 2013) | Offhand Reviews·

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