Why I love Richard Armitage as Chop

I feel like we’ve known him a long time, for four years, already. And I acknowledge that my need for some new Armitage work that really shows the breadth of his talents has been huge lately. But I don’t think that I’m grasping at straws with Chop. Bernard Hare drew this modern-day picaresque character based on his own life with plenty of nuance already, but Armitage’s performance adds so many appealing details. Watching again today (I’m still in my first 48 hours), I found so many prickly and lovable and subtle moments. Chop absolutely recharges my Richard Armitage batteries!

Here are a few.

-The way Chop finds so much of the stuff he witnesses mildly funny or absurd. Our first glimpse of him almost catches him giggling.

-Every second he sounds Yorkshire. “I were a fucking social worker.”

-His amazingly well enunciated closing consonants: “skunK,” or “laTe.”

-The way he calls Greta and Urban “love.” The rough tenderness makes the endearment work.

-How we always see him quietly observing other people. How much enjoyment he takes in others’ happiness.

–That he keeps the Oxford Thesaurus on his coffee table.

–How implausibly hopeful he often seems.

–His affection for his truck (“Elsie”).

–The enjoyment and anticipation with which he licks his cigarette papers. The way he holds his left index finger while doing it.

–His flannel shirts. OH. His flannel shirts.

–The sightly ungainly way he runs, his coat flapping like bat wings.

–The kneeholes in his jeans.

–The unfocused way he looks at the Northern Lights.

–The way he goes in a split second from threatening Greta with a knife to crying.

–His non-hesitance to jump into the canal after Fraser. The way the water pours off his nose when he pulls himself up on the embankment.

–His sweetly narrated memories of childhood candy.

–The way that his education and knowledge inform his perceptions, and his contentment with that.

–The way he chews.

–His belief that cultural literacy and poetry and chess will save them all.

–The tone he takes with the police.

–The way he struggles between his desire to help Urban and his awareness that helping Urban is increasingly rough on his relatively precarious peace.

–The abject misery into which he allows himself to descend.

Most of these caps came from ausscheiwefendemotte on tumblr or Chiaro-scuro on Twitter. I made the cigarette papers ones.

~ by Servetus on April 10, 2018.

19 Responses to “Why I love Richard Armitage as Chop”

  1. Without having seen it yet, I ask if you think that this could finally be the one that brings him the recognition that he’s deserved so many times before?

    Also, on a completely superficial note, I love the way he fills the flannel shirts with his Thorin/Proctor body! 😍🔥🔥🔥🔥

    Liked by 1 person

    • It won’t, but basically because it’s really hard to figure out who this film was targeted at. It has elements that would prevent a mainstream screen release, but it’s too warm and fuzzy to be a real indie arthouse success either. It needed a more alert script for that.

      And yeah, this was the year before the weight-loss slope that started with Hannibal. Sigh 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been out of touch over weekend. How were you able to see Urban? I am probably the only fan that doesn’t know .


  3. Totally with you on all those reasons 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I long to see this.
    Armitage is a flannel shirt and a white grandad is a sight to behold.
    * and that’s NOT the reason why I want to see UATSC!*


  5. Yes… i think i might have mentioned it but it was very strongly in my thoughts again and again… that us, fans, will love his Chop, that it will remind us of and refire much of what brought us to him in the first place and that many of Chop’s ways will delight and touch us and that in many ways they’re so… ‘Armitage’ . I hope to rewatch/get dvd to get back to him often and hope many people will share their thoughts about Chop 😊


    • I agree. I think if you know his career and public appearances well you really see a lot of him in here — in a balanced way. I think he is perhaps more unconsciously “method” than he realizes, and that he draws on himself in all his roles but he’s usually playing up one personality facet or experience or another. It’s more subtle here. This is going to become a fan favorite role, that’s for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved the film, and RA’s performance specifically, when I saw it four years ago. Reading the reviews/reports of those seeing it now I’m delighted my feelings about the film have been confirmed by others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is an easy performance to like, I think; by the time the film really shows us the potential negative depths of Chop’s personality, it’s almost over.


  7. What Snowgirl said 🙂 Great set of screencaps! Especially the plaid shirt. He probably loved this role (among many other reasons) because he could look like a complete slob the whole time 😂

    I’m so pleased more people can now see this. You’re right about it never being US cinema material, even if it was subtitled!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. […] I normally would have about this, because even the on-demand situation was difficult to navigate. My most-visited post on this did not make the top 100 and got only one seventh as many views as the most visited post publishe […]


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