David Valkenet’s review:
Growing up in Australia around the time of this film's release it was hard to escape the fact that Mark Read was being idolised by the dumb kids I went to school with. Having seen snippets of the film here an there and finding the character despicable I stayed away from this for a long time. Even after seeing and loving The Assassination of Jesse James, this always put me off.
I have actually seen Chopper Read around the suburbs where I grew up, as he owned a house nearby, which really solidified this man as a real tangible human, and made his abhorrent acts even more real.
Well, I finally watched it and I'm kicking myself I didn't watch it sooner. Of course Read is a fucking asshole and a despicable human being and of course the film doesn't glorify him, but how was I to know at the time?
Eric Banana gives an electric performance, especially for the time seeing as he'd mostly done Australian sketch based comedy shows. He absolutely captures the essence of the character.
My problem lies with the look of the film. I have seen so many Australian low budget amateur films and they all have this sheen over them, which this film tries to mask with lighting filters but is there nonetheless. In certain scenes it works because it makes the scene feel all the more real, but in others it just looks like a shoddy student film (though not that bad).
The film obviously must have taken artistic liberties in order to tell this story, but it works in this context as Chopper is shown fabricating numerous storis himself.
This film is good enough to make me forget about all the bad things Vince Colosimo has been in.