Directed by Fredrik Bond
While traveling abroad, a guy falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in her violent, charismatic ex.
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★★★½ review by Cappie on Letterboxd
I have been thinking how best to describe Charlie Countryman. I couldn't think of anything that it is easily compared too, so then I thought about how it made me feel. It filled me with the same level of joy and energy that I get when I go to a summer music festival...
And that is 100% correct. It is sun, sweat and blood drenched. It is a 100 minute acid or ecstasy trip. It is shot through a variety of instagram filters. It has a pumping, overly loud and mostly unnecessary indie pop soundtrack. It stars the hipster king of actors, an actor who tries so hard that he took acid to film.
I am aware that that film sounds atrocious and for most people it will be. But for me it have me a similar kind of rush to Spring Breakers, just without the commentary. It is in your face, messy, bonkers, makes next to no sense and would be condemned by most film fans. However this kicked me in the ass with its energy and gave my heart a jump-start with its overly sappy love story.
And then you add the neo-noir plot ripped almost straight-out of a 1940s film noir classic. Guy falls in love, girl he loves is married to a gangster, hilarity ensues. These familiar story beats with the unfamiliar direction and style equal a film like I've never seen before (I probably don't need to see again).
I loved Charlie Countryman.
★★★½ review by Cogerson on Letterboxd
I was prepared to really not like this movie. On my Shia LaBeouf page this movie is the lowest ranked movie according to my Cogerson Movie Score....and is his 2nd lowest rated movie according to critics and audiences. But much to my surprise.....I actually liked this one.
When Shia LaBeouf's mother passes away....her final advice to him is for him to go to Bucharest, Romania. Once in Bucharest he falls in love with Evan Rachel Wood who is in the middle of a very difficult situation with her estranged husband, Mads Mikkelsen. Shia also befriends Rupret Grint who plays a wanna be porn star.
The performances in this movie make the movie work. Mikkelsen has always played bad guys very well....and in this one he does it again. His character is not somebody you would want to make mad...or owe a favor to. Grint in a very small role is fun to watch....his Harry Potter fans might be shocked by this wild role. I have never been much of a LaBeouf or Wood fan....but both do very well in this movie.
Final thought: I liked this movie....that being said...I can see why some people might not like this movie. Wow I can not believe I found a LaBeouf movie that I liked. This one is ranked 18th of 18 movies on my Shia LaBeouf Cogerson Movie Score table. cogersonmoviescore.com/shia-labeouf-movies-best-to-worst.html
★★★★ review by sprizzle on Letterboxd
You know why I like Shia? He tries. He goes out there and gives it his all every time. He takes things very seriously. He takes interesting/different roles, films that lead him further away from the commercial start he got on Transformers. The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman is another film in that lineage. A bizarro story about death, ghosts, and free spirits, set in Bucharest apparently be accident.
It's not that Charlie Countryman is all that ground-breaking. I've seen films that are very similar in nature, and this film especially takes some easy beats to tell it's story. But what it does do, something that's not always seen in the world of artsy films, is tell a compelling story. One that's easy to follow, really, simply black and white. It's got romance, comedy, and action, but it wraps it up in this film that looks slightly different from other movies I've recently seen. It's unconventionally conventional. That makes this easy to watch film seem fresh.
Charlie Countryman looks great. The cinematographer, Roman Vasyanov, has since gone moved on to even better looking things like, Fury. It uses effects subtly when needed but mostly sticks to practical. Shia looks genuinely fried on screen, and I have to wonder how much credit of that should go to hair and makeup and how much of that is just how the actor is looking nowadays. Either way it works. Evan Rachel Wood does an okay accent and pulls of the hot foreign chick. Mads Mikkelsen is quiet and brilliant, something he's quite used to. All the characters are well put together and end up created a really memorable experience.
The more I think about it, the more I like it. After seeing it one and a half times, I'm definitely up for another full viewing. Not that I think I'll get that much more out of it the second (and a half) time, it's just that it's really entertaining. I wasn't expecting to like this film half as much as I did. Just another reason to keep watching whatever Shia LaBeouf does.
★★★½ review by staypuffed on Letterboxd
Love and loss by the way of fantastic escape, not so much genre-smashing but a vague blurring between parameters. Its construction and execution is eclectic, fluctuating between whimsy and intensity; not exactly smooth, but certainly never boring. Charlie Countryman follows a ubiquitous format: our protagonist embarks on an impromptu trip to another country (Romania), falls in love (with a woman named Gabi), and becomes entangled in shenanigans (it's... it's complicated). The difference: Charlie speaks to the dead. The basis for his meeting with Gabi is pretty bizarre, and I don't think the film really realises that (it also forgets he has this ability for a while). Still, Charlie and Gabi's relationship is unequivocally the most interesting thing at play here; it's one rooted in mourning, propelled forward by happenstance, solidified by the willingness to sacrifice. Shia LaBeouf gives it everything he's got, his enigmatic yet vulnerable sensibilities on full display (sometimes too much so?). Love love LOVE Evan Rachel Wood here. She immerses herself in Gabi's headspace - wrenched, dripping with sorrow, slowly being torn apart by men (Charlie not exactly excluded) - with an absolutely killer accent. And even when everything surrounding these two characters gets a bit bizarre, at least it looks great - props to DP Roman Vasyanov for creating a gorgeous visual landscape. Speaking of aesthetics, holy heck does that M83 track make the ending. It transforms a near-impenetrable finale into something of a statement. Something close to beautiful.
★★★½ review by Aaron T. Rex on Letterboxd
I'm a sucker for a good love story. Mix in some guns and a little crazy stuff and you got me. Think True Romance, Wild at Heart, that kind of thing. Only thing is, it is exceedingly rare that a good one comes along. The trailer for Charlie Countryman had me excited as it seemed to contain a lot of the above elements and hey, guess what, quit hating Shia. I like the guy and he's pretty good in this. I'll leave the method drug experiments up to him, but on screen I enjoy him. He's got a good presence and you can't tell me he doesn't go for it and give it a good shot.
Right away I liked the connection between him and Evan Rachel Wood so the most important part of the love story was good to go. The moments between those two are the best and most real and the movie would have done well to have had more scenes with just the two of them. Walking, running, talking, falling in love, what have you.
But, no sir, we don't get it that way. The director feels the need to include everything. We got the crazy friends, old lover, evil crime lords, swat team, philamornics, donuts, and an excessive use of slow motion. It works in some scenes but it definitely went overboard.
I was going to complain about the supernatural elements in the movie but there aren't that many and to be honest.. they are a little stupid but at least they feel genuine and true and I could relate to them.
In short, Shia is good. Look out for this kid.
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