Monday, August 24, 2009
Mark Read’s story is both true and truly bizarre. His parents were downright sadists, with his mother cheering as his father would beat him. They could’ve cared less about him too. He became a ward of the state and a streetfighter at the ripe old age of 14. By 19 he was living in an asylum for the criminally insane. And the story just keeps going and keeps building in bizarrity as the years continued to roll by. By adulthood he was an enforcer for mob bosses. I tell you all this to point out the fact that his story is packed to the brim with fascinating bits, which is all the more reason why this movie was so disappointing. While in prison, Mark (AKA Chopper), wrote an autobiography. It was an instant bestseller and made Chopper uber-famous. This 2000 flick about his life picks up after the book’s taken off and just when he’s about to get out of prison. When he gets out he continues to live a sordid and interesting life, albeit much milder, meaning he only kills one person in the movie. You know when you watch a movie about a person who’s been in prison for a long time and finally gets out and there’s that obligatory moment where they struggle with how to live life on the ‘outside?’ Those bits work well when they are short sections of the movie, but in this case that’s the whole flick, or at least the vast majority of it. The characters are interesting and Eric Bana’s Chopper is just fantastic, but it felt like the movie overall lacked much of a cohesive sense of story or purpose. I didn’t know what the point of it all was. Or, put another way, I felt like the whole point was summed up pretty much in the opening scene. In the end, I enjoyed parts of it, now and then, but overall I was checking my watch. There was nothing about this movie that lured me in and got me interested or engaged in the characters. How can you make a movie about a guy who made a living killing and enforcing crime bosses boring? I mean, this guy used to take people’s toes off using a blow torch. He once cut his ears off just so he could get moved to another wing of the prison and the movie was boring?! Sadly, overall, yes, it was. It’s not awful, but there’s very little here to make you think much about ol’ Chopper once you turn off the DVD player. I suggest just picking up that autobiography.