Original Title: The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman
Staring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Melissa Leo
Directed by: Fredrik Bond
Written By: Matt Drake
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 43 min
In my opinion, a film can’t be overrated. I’ve actually grown to hate the term when it’s used to describe a movie. I mean, what are we saying? The ‘overrated’ film’s popularity is a mistake? That all those people who raved about a particular film are wrong, or stupid? That if the majority of critics get together and praise a film? They must be in cahoots or something? Calling each other to compare ratings to help out a director friend? It’s ridiculous anyway I try to comprehend it. If you personally don’t like a popular film, then you just didn’t like the film. The people who liked it were not stupid, they were entertained, and no more needs to be said.
A film however, can be underrated, and I think Charlie Countryman qualifies as one of those films. I say this because as far as I can tell, this film hardly hit the theaters, if at all, and then quickly ended up in my NetFlix streaming library. Likely due to its small production, foreign location, or having a somewhat troubled star in the lead role perhaps. Whatever marketing decisions resulted in this film being rushed through the pipeline, I personally think it deserved a better chance at success, because it’s actually a very decent film.
What Shia LaBeouf does with his life when the camera isn’t pointed at him, is none of my business. I only care about what he does between the film’s credits, and in this film he absolutely nails his performance as Charlie Countryman, and is a joy to watch. Like a little lost Rat Terrier, Charlie, on a whim (and because his dead mother told him to) flies to Bucharest, and falls in love with a beautiful Romanian cello player called Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood.) Which also unfortunately embroils the love-sick puppy in a sticky situation with Gabi’s ex-husband and gangster, Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen), and his equally violent friend, Darko (Til Schweiger.)
What follows is part ‘trippy’ dream, part action adventure, part romance story and it’s all really entertaining. The story just sorta happens around Charlie, as he encounters people and places around the city, and always strangely finds the right or wrong places to be. Oh, and if you were wondering what happened to Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) after he graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this film has a possible answer! Charlie Countryman is a fast paced fun romp through the streets of Bucharest, and it bounces along to a superb soundtrack. Its more ethereal moments aren’t really explored as much as I would have liked, but all in all, I had a blast watching this! And who knows, maybe this film will find enough fans as a rental, and one day be known and loved enough for someone to call it, ‘overrated!’
Approach this one with low expectations, and don’t demand that it make a lot of sense, and you might just love it. If you enjoy manic movies, and Moby’s music, then give this film a chance. The movie is rated R for brutal violence, language, nudity and drug use.
I personally would have liked to have seen this in the theaters. At home, a TV screening with friends is a good way to go. I wouldn’t recommend watching this on anything portable.
My absolute favorite moment in the film came as Charlie is being chased through Bucharest to Moby’s excellent After (remix) soundtrack. It’s a great collection of slow motion, rapid motion, big stunts and a really neat conclusion.