Annoying, Inconsistent ‘Charlie Countryman’ with Shia LaBeouf

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What happens when you give people two months in Romania to make a movie about a lost soul dealing with grief, love, drug use, and general excess? You get a spoiled, bizarre, annoying piece of work like “Charlie Countryman,” starring talented people given absolutely nothing to do that proves that talent. It’s a film more in love with slow-motion shots of its abrasive lead running to electronic dance music than anything approaching character or plot. It’s like watching the travel video of the most annoying guy you know.

Charlie Countryman (Shia LaBeouf) can talk to dead people. He meets a man on a plane to Romania and has a brief conversation with him AFTER he drops dead in the seat next to him. The afterlife-chat forces Charlie to seek out the man’s daughter, Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood), with whom he falls in love, of course. The problem is that Gabi is married to Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen), a maniacal crime boss who takes an instant disliking to his wife’s new friend. Charlie also has buddies his age to drop acid with (which the actor who plays him reportedly did in an oh-so-method way) including Rupert Grint and there’s a violent character played by Til Schweiger who…oh, who cares?

Charlie Countryman
Charlie Countryman
Photo credit: Millennium Entertainment

Honestly, that was my response to almost all of “Charlie Countryman,” an aggressively annoying piece of filmmaking that often plays like an awful music video – especially in chase or acid-dropping scenes – and almost fails worse when the dialogue kicks in. To say I didn’t care about Charlie Countryman would be a massive understatement. A film like this one ONLY works if you want to follow its lead down those dark roads to deal with his grief, find his love, or even save his own life. If you don’t care about Charlie, you don’t care about the movie that bears his name. Charlie is not an interesting character. It almost feels like the writer Matt Drake tacked on the supernatural twist just to give him something memorable as a character. It doesn’t help that LaBeouf clearly can’t figure this guy out at all. He should be a lost soul looking for something and finding love. Instead, he’s just a jerk who falls for a beautiful girl with a troubled past. We’ve seen it so many times before and usually with guys who we actually want to see fall in love.

“Charlie Countryman” only vaguely comes alive when its talented supporting cast takes the spotlight. Mikkelsen, so great in “The Hunt” in “Hannibal,” has a few moments of true malevolence that make his performance memorable, and Wood is never bad. One wishes she would find more consistently engaging characters that live up to her talent. Even though she’s good here (as always), even Wood often looks lost in this cluttered project. Everybody does. Don’t join them in their confusion.

“Charlie Countryman” stars Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Rupert Grint, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, John Hurt, and Melissa Leo. It was written by Matt Drake and directed by Fredrik Bond. It opens in Chicago and will be available On Demand on November 15, 2013.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

JUNO's picture

THE TRUTH

FIRE: The director - FREDERIK BOND - EVAN R. WOOD - MADS MIKKELSEN

KEEP: SHIA LABEOUF - TIL SCHWEIGER - RUPERT GRINT

Fredrik Bond- Short Attention Span Disorder not needed in film! Stick to commercials.

Evan R. Wood - Crappy, Fake Accent ridiculous. The director says only way film could be made - American actress needed for financing. Scrap. the. film.

Mads Mikkelsen - WHY? Money? Convenient Location? Favor Owed? Quit Playing Stereotype Roles. You. Do. Not. Look. Young. Enough. To. Play. To. Women. Younger. Than. TWENTY. Or. More. Years. Younger. Than You. GOT IT!!! Can I say Whoreywood?!!…….parody

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