Director – Andrew Dominik
Cast – Eric Bana, Vince Colosimo, Simon Lyndon.
Released – 2000
I went into this film knowing very little about Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, but I already didn’t like him. I really don’t like the idea that someone in my country can go from hit man to media personality in a matter of years.
The film really confirmed my feelings. It is based on his best selling book “From the Inside”, the first of many books by Read, this particular one was written whist serving time in Prison.
A positive for the film is that at least it appears to be an honest portrayal, which is at least refreshing to see in an era of glitz and glamour. Something I just don’t understand is that, in the film Chopper brags about the torture he has inflicted and claims to have killed 19 people, so if this is true (as it claims to be) then how is this man out of jail? And why is he a celebrity?
THE FILM - Ignoring how much I dislike Mark read, Eric Bana’s portrayal of his is exceptional. It is both sympathetic and psychotic. It seems obvious that Read (in this portrayal) is suffering from some sort of mental disorder, resulting in constant episodes of paranoid violence followed by unremitting remorse.
It is hard to judge a film, when it is based on such a morally questionable character. To put it frankly he comes across as a complete douche. – I find it hard that he ever had a girlfriend to beat up!
Chopper acted as if he had some sort of supreme right to kill and hurt drug dealers, a complex which is only extended further when he becomes a Police informant.
After doing an interview in the film, it is stated that he was not paid for the interview, because that particular news station does not pay criminals, which got me thinking- can criminals make money from their crimes? And if so, did Chopper get paid royalties for the film?
Whilst I tried to find these answers, the issue is pretty complex and after googling my heart out I became side tracked and ended up on Mark Reads website, he states that Victoria and New South Wales introduced the “Chopper Read amendments…These “do-as-we-like” governments have approved new legislation to stop criminals from earning royalties from books and movies about their offenses”. – http://www.chopperread.com
Although the publicity Choppers first book and film received may no have given his money directly, they paved the way for his future success as an author, with now over 14 books to his name including a Children book, he is also an established painter and has a range of memorabilia – Proving that crime can pay (even if it isn’t directly)
- Side Note – Read was recently declined a working with children’s permit (what a shock)