8:00 PM, 7th April, 2001
OK, I didn't see Looking for Alibrandi, so I'm educated in saying that I think Chopper should have won the AFI award for best film. Chopper is the biography of Mark "Chopper" Reid, a man who wanted to be known as a famous crime figure and went to great lengths to make sure that happened. The movie starts with Chopper's escapades in prison and ends with Chopper in prison; but it is not a prison movie. Most of the time, Chopper is out and free to cause havoc among the public, which he does in a successfully disturbing fashion. Many black laughs are provided for the audience; you will often surprise yourself at what you laugh at.
The movie is shot in a very different style. The director has used different lighting techniques to show Chopper's world through his eyes and through the eyes of the people who know him. Certain sequences (such as, of course, the limerick death of Sammy the Turk) are excellent in their bizarreness. The movie won AFI awards for direction, Eric Bana won Best Actor and Simon Lyndon won for his performance of Chopper's "best friend". It was deservedly nominated for cinematography, editing, production design, and, of course, best film.
9:44 PM, 7th April, 2001
This is no lighthearted and quirky Australian film like Muriel's Wedding or Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and people looking for the sardonically suave Hugh Jackman found in the X-Men movie will be disappointed. Instead get ready for an introspective, highly emotional, and lovingly filmed story of two brothers. Barky (Dennis) and Wace (Jackman) have suffered their whole lives from tyrannical abuse by their drunken father. Their mother left when they were young, and the younger, Barky, escaped the home in inner-city Erskineville two years ago, leaving his brother and girlfriend Lanny (Vandenberg) without a word. Upon his father's death, he returns to face Lanny and Wace, who resents having had to deal with everything alone.
With the help of some beers at the King's Hotel, the brothers try to sort out their feelings. Can they work through the pain, anger, and fear? Marty Dennis, who wrote the script under the alias Anik Chooney, stars in the role of Barky, but as usual Hugh Jackman eats the scenery. His performance won him a Best Actor AFI Award Nomination in 1999.