This Australian drama is based on the life and times of Mark "Chopper" Read, a notorious Aussie criminal who went on to become a best-selling author, publishing nine books about his exploits outside the law. In 1978, Chopper (played by Eric Bana) is serving a 16-year sentence for abducting a judge who was overseeing the trial of his best friend Jimmy (Simon Lyndon). Jimmy and Chopper end up sharing a cell, along with Keithy George (David Field), a crime boss; when a disagreement between Keithy and Chopper escalates into violence, Chopper kills Keithy, leading to retribution from the gangster's mates, who hire Jimmy to do their dirty work. To escape, Chopper forces a friend to cut off one of his ears so he'll be transferred to another prison. Eight years later, Chopper is out of prison and looking for Jimmy in hopes of getting revenge; in the meantime, he's looking to get even with another of his enemies, Neville (Vince Colosimo), and trying to keep his eye on his girlfriend, Tanya (Kate Beahan), who supports herself as a call girl. While the real "Chopper" Read was not directly involved in the production, comic Eric Bana was cast in the lead at Read's suggestion.
by Mark Deming synopsis