Australian actor Eric Bana is Mark Chopper Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his best-selling autobiography, “From the Inside”, while serving a murder sentence in prison. Beginning in the blue-washed light of a maximum security Melbourne prison, Chopper establishes his dominance with the impulsive knifing of a fellow prisoner. Vacillating between violence and regret, Chopper apologies to his victim, but his good mate Jimmy (Simon Lyndon) later retaliates against. Finally released from prison, the heavily-tattooed Chopper has lost the better part of both of his ears, as well as the ability to make any distinction between his own made-up stories and reality. At a nightclub with his prostitute girlfriend, Tanya (Kate Beahan), he runs into Neville (Vince Colosimo), an old victim who had limped from the attack but now glitters in drug-funded gold. In his paranoia, Chopper connects rumors of a new contract on his life to Neville, Tanya, and his old mate Jimmy, to whom he pays a visit and discovers a man rotting from drug abuse. Alternately wickedly funny and grotesque, “Chopper” gives no easy answer to the question of Chopper Read’s motives, but his method is clear: "Ya bash people for no reason, just to get a name for yourself’.
Andrew Dominik (born 1967) is a New Zealand-born Australian film director and screenwriter. He has directed two films so far: Chopper and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. —Wikipedia
Not a directing tour de force by Dominik and the video quality might be the cheapest quality available at the time it was filmed. But this does contain a brilliant character study that is performed in Mars by Eric Bana. Exciting, terrifying, pitch black funny and poignant all in one swift pass.
Entertaining and well-directed. The coke and courtroom scenes were well done. I'm guessing the bad VHS cinematography was more the result of a low budget than a creative vision but despite how uncomfortable Chopper has the tendency to make its audience feel it doesn't overstay its welcome.