The dark subversive drama proves to be a really quite distinctive Aussie film which smells of originality in a local industry that has only just recently begun to take risks. Aussie cinema has rarely explored the dark areas of modern life with only 1998’s very serious ethno-centric “Head On” touching on one area. “Chopper” goes several steps further and in doing so has created an extremely well made movie which can easily stand up there with major international productions in terms of quality.
Eric Bana does an Oscar-calibre performance as the notorious killer and no matter what way you feel about the real guy, there’s no denying that Bana just absolutely kicks in the role of a character who one second is wise cracking, the next moment is in a homicidal rage. The cinematography is some of the best I’ve seen used in a film this year with lots of colourful lighting hues and sharp dark contrasts mixed together which gives the whole production a very high-class yet edgy feel & appearance. In fact everything from the performances, to the script, to the directing is spot on.
The real debate is over the subject material and how its handled. The film never moralises what Chopper does, and unapologetically shows all sides of his character from the rascally sense of humour when he does things like whip out his penis to give a girl nearby a laugh (with cops only feet away) to a truly dark and paranoid temperament that causes him to unapologetically shoot people, bash his girlfriend (and her mother) and more. There’s some dark stuff here, but its interspersed with some great laughs – combination that certainly won’t appeal to all. In a time when movies about killers have fallen into a formulaic and almost boring pattern, “Chopper” is like a slap in the face – excellent work from all involved.