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Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.
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Colin (Ray Winstone) is in agony, shattered by his wife's infidelity. However, he has friends who do more than stand by. They kidnap the wife's French lover and hold him prisoner so that Colin can restore his manhood with revenge. A kangaroo court takes place, and as the situation escalates, loverboy's life hangs in the balance as Colin wrestles with revenge, remorse, grief, and self pity, all the while egged on by his motley crew of friends who just want him to get on with it so they can get down to the pub.
Not a gangster movie but a film about what happens to a man when everything is taken from him.
If you are looking for a gangster film this ain't it. Perhaps this is why the poor reviews as a result of disappointed viewers expecting another 'Sexy Beast' or 'Reservoir Dogs'. This film is about marriage and what happens to a man on seeing everything he lives for fall apart.
The 'gangster' setting is a device that allows the issues and emotions to be addressed in their full harshness and the cast handle it extremely well. Colin Diamond (Winstone) displays how strength & purpose is gained from the marriage bond and how vulnerable it can leave you. This is very well contrasted by Merediths (McShane) refusal to be tied and how it leaves him invulnerable but also somehow inhuman. The other members of the gang also serve to reflect aspects of attachment to another person.
Ray Winstone gives the lead character violent/twisting/agonising emotional turmoil in the way that only he and DeNiro can do. If this was Winstones first film he could easily win awards, unfortunately for him the public has come to expect to see stuff like this from him. The other main actors also give excellent performances.
This film must be viewed in its own light, if you expect it to be a gangster film or a love story you will be disappointed. Take it as it is and it is well worth watching. It is certainly well written, acted and produced, and examines a subject familiar to most of us. However, it still only feels like a 'little' film and will not stay with me so I can only give it an 8.
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