I really enjoyed it, and I don't know that I ever would have heard of it without your suggestion, ufez, so thanks for that.
I'd also never seen Eric Bana before, and I thought he was GREAT. The way he could veer through several emotions in the space of seconds, showing the addled state of Chopper's mind, was excellent. Also, his face was downright SCARY when his temper would start flaring, like in the scene with Chopper and his girlfriend sitting in her car outside the club.
Another thing I enjoyed was the fact that we have an unreliable narrator, and therefore some of the scenes were almost dreamlike, such as the stabbing of Chopper in prison. That was almost absurdist the way it went on and on, and it couldn't have really happened like that, but I'm sure to hear Chopper tell it, it did. I like seeing fantasy and reality blur like that.
Speaking of which: the effect used during the meth-snorting scene made me laugh out loud. Perfect. Just subtle enough to work without being silly.
And finally, I liked the way it ended. Kind of anti-climactic, but deliberately so, driving home the point that after all this, he's just a fuckhead in a prison cell, who could not get his act together and make anything real of himself.
Criticisms: the second prison term seemed kind of unexplained and rushed- one minute he's on trial, the next he's been in prison long enough to have written a best-seller. There seemed like there were scenes cut out between those two points. Also, I thought some of the monochromatic lighting (the blues in the first prison segment, and the green fluorescent in Ritchie's apartment) were overdone and made it hard to see what was going on at times. This might have been a problem with the DVD transfer, and not the original movie.
I'm more along the lines of jonathanstrange. I didn't so much dislike it, but it was a bit disjointed and lacked just about any sense of drama or suspense for my taste. It almost seemed like an hour and a half long character-study via multiple vignettes, if that makes sense.
Bana's performance was quite good, and I like a lot of the stylistic/visual elements (and I'm with BoPo, the meth-snorting scene was fantastic) but when it ended, I just kind of felt like "okay, and there's that, then". Not bad, but nothing I'm in any hurry to watch again.
I'm glad it didn't blow though, seeing as how I selected it.
Would anyone like to volunteer to select a movie for September?
theophile, I have that DVD on order! :D. (Have you seen the contest Criterion is having, BTW? Make a vid of yourself cooking something that the character in the movie does, and you might win a PS3. Weirdest promo contest EVAR. )