Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013)

Director: Fredrik Bond

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Ward, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schwiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley

More info: IMDb

Plot: Obeying the last wish of his deceased mother, young American Charlie travels to Eastern Europe with no plans. He lands in a truly unknown place—wilder, weirder, and more foreign than he could have ever imagined. Committed to spontaneous, explosive, and instinctive acts, Charlie now finds himself pursuing an equally lost soul named Gabi, a mysterious Romanian woman unable to shake her dark, violent past.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.


What the hell did I just watch?  It started out OK with a nice John Hurt voice over.  Charlie’s mom dies and he has a vision in the hospital hallway and she tells him to go to Bucharest.  So he does.  OK, I can dig it.  On the flight over an older Romanian he befriends in the adjacent seat dies mid-flight.  Charlie gets another vision, this time from the old man, who tells him to deliver a silly gift he bought for his daughter.  So when he arrives (there’s trouble at the airport that delays him a bit) he delivers the souvenir hat but he falls in love.  He really has to work at it with this chick, too.  The shit hits the fan for this cat at every turn yet he keeps going.  Why?  I haven’t the foggiest unless it’s for love but even that doesn’t feel genuine.  See, she’s married to Mads Mikkelsen and he’s one scary dude.  He fucks Charlie’s shit up more than once and it ain’t pretty.  Why does Charlie persist with Gabi (Wood)?  Beat the shit out of me.  Again, he must be in love.  Now, at no point so far do we really know much about Charlie except he’s weak and avoids conflict.  So why does he continuously put himself in the middle of it?  You've got me.  There’s something about an incriminating video tape that we get to see but we never really find out why there is a seemingly larger gangster type that’s after Nigel (Mads).  There are some questions that I felt needed to be answered.

There is, however, a great foot chase sequence at the 2/3 mark that nicely utilizes a subway.  There’s lots of slow motion and loud techno-ish music that all work beautifully together and the part where Charlie takes a slow-mo bow to the thugs is hands down the best bit in the movie and a great ending to an adrenaline rush of a chase.  I’m going to cut to the ending because there’s not much else for me to say besides the beautiful location shooting.  Great cinematography.  Gabi shoots Charlie (just as we saw in the opening moments of the film) in the gut.  The fuzz show up and the thugs holding the rope that has Charlie hanging 50 feet above the water let it go.  Charlie, beat up and with a bullet in his gut, falls into the water.  John Hurt tells us a little more saying something like, “and then something magical happened. [bubbles from below push him to the surface] “Charlie may have given up on love but love…didn’t give up on Charlie.”  OMFG.  I did not just hear that.  Yes…I…did.  I’m beside myself.  Then we get the clips of Charlie and Gabi doing things together in the city.  Wow.  I just watched my first film at Sundance that I didn’t like.  I’m sad.  At the Q&A afterward someone directly behind me asked very sternly, “Why not let him die?” Bond’s reply was that it was a fairy tale.  Well, that’s a cheat.  Except for Charlie seeing dead people there’s nothing fairy tale about it except for the last couple of minutes.  I don’t want to come down on it all that hard because it’s got some nice things in it.   Before I go I have got to say how much fun it was watching Rupert Grint’s performance.  FUN-NY!

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