As I get ready for the midnight showing of [Deliver Us From Evil](movie:739915), I realize that Eric Bana has a supremely amazing role under his belt that not enough people know about. Most of us in the U.S. know Eric Bana as Ang Lee's failed Hulk, or Avner from Munich or most likely of all, as Hector in Troy. As far as Troy is concerned, I have seen the scene where Bana fights Brad Pitt and that was all I needed, thank you very much. Most recently, his roles as Nero in Star Trek and Eric Heller in Hannah have been good, but they haven't shown off what he is really capable of. Way back in the year 2000, Eric Bana had the starring role in an Australian film called Chopper.
Mark "Chopper" Read is a legendary Australian criminal who wrote his autobiography, "From the Inside" while incarcerated in Melbourne's Pentridge Prison. A collection of tales and anecdotes from his time while there, these stories are insane. Truth really is stranger than fiction when it comes to Chopper and Bana inhabits this crazy, violent, strangely lovable character with ease. He really does slip into the character of Chopper and it really is a sight to see.
Chopper reminds me of Patrick Bateman in the sense that you kind of want to be friends with him, however, unlike Patrick, Chopper is the real deal. The fact that this man existed is just too much to believe sometimes. While being repeatedly stabbed by his friend in prison, he hugs the guy. In another incident, he shoots someone through the eye and then looks seriously concerned and asks the guy if he's o.k.! He is a giant teddy bear of a man, but he will kill you in cold blood; he's truly fascinating. His imposing stature tells you to be wary, but then he starts pouring on that certain Chopper charm and I can see how one would be easily fooled by him.
Bana inhabits this role as if he were born to play it. Covered in tattoos with some gold teeth and extra weight, Bana is almost unrecognizable. He gained 30 pounds, shaved his head and came to set early every day to spend five hours being covered in Read's trademark tattoos. Bana also spent two days with Read in order to perfect his mannerisms and speech patterns. All of this truly paid off and I really don't know who else could have inhabited this character because the one thing that really makes Chopper magnetic is his charm and Bana has charm oozing out of his pores.
The world runs rampant with criminals, but has only one Mark Chopper Read and this is really the entire reason for watching this movie. It's a good movie because the subject matter is good, otherwise, it's just another criminal biography with some run of the mill prison violence, hookers, bars and more violence. Even more than that, Eric Bana is what makes this film a must watch. Every time I see Bana promoted more for his looks than his talent, I just want to yell, "Everyone Must Watch Chopper"!
So, while he is so much more than a pretty face.....
Everyone must watch Chopper!!