Charlie Countryman

2013

Charlie Countryman

Critics Consensus

Shia LaBeouf clearly relishes his role in Charlie Countryman, but his efforts can't salvage the movie's shallow script and overstuffed direction.

27%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 66

49%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,957
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Movie Info

When his late mother appears in a vision and tells him to go to Bucharest, Charlie immediately boards a plane across the Atlantic. But when he meets a fellow passenger, Charlie finds himself with another promise to fulfill. Charlie does so - and falls head over heels in love with Gabi, a beautiful musician. However, a vicious gangster has already laid claim to Gabi, and has no intention of letting her go. Determined to protect her, Charlie enters into the hallucinatory, Romanian underworld filled with violence and, strangely enough, love. (c) Mllenium

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Critic Reviews for Charlie Countryman

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (48)

  • The weird filmography of Shia LaBeouf, from Fury to Nymphomaniac via Transformers, continues with an ecstasy-fuelled excursion to eastern Europe in the bizarre The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.

    Oct 31, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Shia LaBeouf continues his relentless campaign to prove himself the most tiresome person in the history of cinema, or showbusiness, or the universe.

    Oct 30, 2014 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • There's quirky, and then there's straight-up annoying.

    Oct 30, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • LaBeouf, who throws himself whole-heartedly into every role regardless of its worth, is a fearless and fascinating actor, and his sincerity holds the entire sleazy mess together.

    Nov 25, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Ah, Bucharest. That exotic, Eastern European hotbed of romance, intrigue and hefty film-production tax breaks.

    Nov 15, 2013 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • However you cut it, with all that talent, Charlie Countryman feels like a sad, wasted opportunity.

    Nov 15, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Charlie Countryman

  • Jan 22, 2014
    This romantic film-noir action film directed by Fredrik Bond, written by Matt Drake, and starring Shia LaBeouf, Rupert Grint, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen and Til Schweiger, was so difficult to score! It can go both ways - masterpiece or something to be forgotten very soon. The film premiered on January 21, 2013 at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was screened in competition at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, and probably everyone watching it had the same thinking - is this a future cult movie or insignificant piece of "so-called art"? The story of Charlie Countryman (LaBeouf) started strange, but very engaging for the viewers. Not long after the death of his mother, who talks to him, the life of this normal guy spirals into a surreal world of Europe's back hole. He meets and falls in love with Gabi (Wood), a Romanian girl, after he sits next to her father on a air flight that resulted in his death. This romance has little chance to survive, because Gabi is married to Nigel (Mikkelsen), a violent and mentally unstable crime boss with a gang of thugs at his disposal. Armed with little more than his wit and naïve charm, Charlie endures one bruising beat-down after another to woo Gabi and keep her out of harm's way. Finally, his exploits of blind valour create such a mess that he's left with only one way out: to save the girl of his dreams, he has to die. In the early development, Shia LaBeouf dropped out of the project and the title role was briefly given to Zac Efron before LaBeouf returned to the project in August 2010. I really want to know who was the genius who thought that LaBeouf could be replced by Zac Efron!? LaBeouf throw himself fully into this role, and that is the thing which is noticeable - no faking! LaBeouf reportedly tripped on acid while filming acid scenes. According to LaBeouf, he had to trip on the acid to really get into the head of his character and to emulate some of his acting heroes. This is how he explained,"There's a way to do an acid trip like Harold & Kumar and there's a way to be on acid. What I know of acting, Sean Penn actually strapped up to that electric chair in Dead Man Walking. These are the guys that I look up to." I recommend this film to all film lovers for the acid-laced feel of directing, extraordinary acting and very realistic presentation of what societies of law and order became in today's European Community! Especially the ones from the East. Of course, the screenplay can put you off sometimes with all this confusion, too many characters and the filming and camera work which are too dramatic to relax and enjoy fully every scene. Still, film worth watching!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 10, 2014
    Hey, it's got comedy, romance, action, Mads Mikkelsen, and John Hurt and Vincent D'Onofrio reminding us that they're still alive, so what more could you ask for? I'd imagine there are a couple of people out there who would ask that Shia LaBeouf not be in this film, you know, just because it's popular to not like LaBeouf these days, but people, it was either him or Zac Efron... another underappreciated talent. Well, maybe this super-low-profile project could have worse taste in big-name stars for the titular lead role, but you know what, now that I think about it, I kind of wish that Efron was Charlie Countryman, because we've yet to see him on acid. Everyone's making a big deal about LaBeouf actually dropping acid for the acid trip sequences (Oh yeah, what a terrible method acting process), but I've seen the abstract, obscenely European art music video for Sigur Rós' "Fjögur Píanó", so he must have it in his contract to have LSD at the craft services tables on movie sets. Also, as much as he screams, he just has to have had more than a few bad trips in front of the camera, and quite frankly, I can't believe his trips don't appear to go sour in this film, when he's hanging out with Marilyn Manson's ex-girlfriend, NBC's interpretation of Hannibal Lecter, and Ron Weasley. This is one strange and moderately respectable cast, even without Efron, but I don't know if it will freak LaBeouf out as much as the giant, noisy robot alien battles, which isn't to say that this film's direction is that much less bloated than Michael Bay's usual directorial performance. No, this film isn't quite that over-the-top, but like LaBeouf, this film trips over more than a few questionable ideas (Be careful with acid, kids, because the artistic expression it might inspire isn't likely to be as marketable as giant, noisy robot alien battles). This film could have been refreshing, as it falls under a category of art film that has had a good record when it comes to putting out relatively unique projects, yet this particularly effort ends up taking from one too many art film tropes, until it becomes predictable, even if you're likely to find difficulty in getting a grip on the pace at which storytelling reach its predictable points. While this film is not so deep into art house tropes that it's an abstract meditative piece, thoughtful, deliberately paced moments which range from forgivable to kind of dull can be found amidst a generally briskly paced, traditionally structured narrative, convoluting a sense of urgency about as much as tonal inconsistencies. This isn't as big of a comedy as some are saying, but it still has plenty of lighthearted bits whose breaking with intensity, or at least an artistically dramatic attitude, makes it hard to grasp the full depths of the dramedy. The severity of the issues is debatable, but the fact of the matter is that problems stand, possibly as considerable, even if they are kind of limited, not doing a whole lot of justice to a promising story, whose limitations in meat are emphasized by familiarity, inconsistencies and even overambition. There's a certain overstylization and eagerness in Fredrik Bond's directorial storytelling that not only results in pacing and tonal problems, but reflects an overambition that, while nothing if not charming, plagues the final product with a certain awkwardness. The film simply feels too passionate for you to disregard the areas in which it falls short, and while I certainly feel that the final product doesn't fall as far short as many are saying, I really do wish that there was more consistency to compellingness here. The film leaves much to be desired, but it delivers enough to be pretty decent to me, or at least aesthetically outstanding. One of the film's strongest elements, a diverse score offers some tasteful traditional touches within Christophe Beck's score that is often combined with modernist electronic touches to establish a unique atmospheric soundtrack, - further flavored up by some nifty plays with M83's post-rock introductory track to "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming", "Intro" (Very creative title) - punctuated by somewhat frantic, but nevertheless lively fast-pace intensity to truly genuinely done electronic compositions by mainstream technical musicians. Not quite as unique or dynamic as the soundtrack, but still strong is Roman Vasyanov's cinematography, whose flat moments are often broken by rugged lighting and coloration, whose absorption of bleak attributes is consistently handsome, with downright stunningly stylish moments. The film is not especially unique stylistically, but if nothing else stands out, it is, in fact, style, anchored by a refreshing musical style and dreamy visual style that are aesthetically remarkable, as well as even complimentary to substance, thanks to inspired direction. Although Fredrik Bond's efforts feel a little too ambitious, they're commendable in their playing on the aforementioned diverse music and visual style in order to capture genuine resonance, which is sometimes near-great. These moments of deep bite are very much few and far between, but they mark highlights in an endearing directorial performance that is, at the very least, charming, winning you over, to some degree or another, to some genuine intrigue of this story concept about as much as highlights in Matt Drake's pretty well-characterized script, as well as inspired acting. Most everyone delivers about much as he or she can, with James Buckley and Rupert Grint being effective as charming supporters, and Mads Mikkelsen being effective as an intimidating antagonist, while Evan Rachel Wood nails both a Romanian accent and presence of a woman who finds new life in a new love that is threatened by tragedy, and Shia LaBeouf plays a less screamy Shia LaBeouf, but still carries the drama with electric charisma, as well as some charged emotional layers. If LaBeouf's acting material was more consistent, he would likely be one of the better performances of the year, but he's still one of the best of many strengths that drive the final product a fair distance, maybe not to the point I was hoping it would reach, but certainly to the point of bringing this effort, certainly not to the point of rewarding, but decidedly to the border. When the trip is through, a promising story is told too formulaically, inconsistently - at least in pacing and tone - and ambitiously for the final product to truly reward, but a strong soundtrack and visual style, endearing direction and strong performances - particularly the one by leading man Shia LaBeouf - make "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman", or simply "Charlie Countryman" a charming and sometimes resonant art dramedy, even if it falls just short of its full potential. 2.75/5 - Decent
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2013
    It may not be the most well made, but 'Charlie Countryman' is easily one of the coolest cinematic experiences I've had this year. LaBeouf alone makes the movie worth watching, but the kinetic direction from newcomer Fredrik Bond is welcome. Mads Mikkelsen is never a sore sight to see either, and his presence definitely heightens the film. The magical realism aspect blends well with the backdrop of the seedy underbelly of Bucharest. It may not be an entirely great story, but it is fantastically told. 'Charlie Countryman' is a breath of fresh air, a film for film's sake, during that time of the year where we are exposed to film for academy's sake.
    Kase V Super Reviewer
  • Nov 24, 2013
    I am not too sure why this movie got such a bum rap from the critics. It starts off with a great premise, Shia LaBeouf has to pull the plug on his mother and after taking a few pills, sees his mother's soul leave her body. It's more of a fantasy start to the film than anything else. I thought LaBeouf really enjoyed playing this role after coming out after Transformers a few years ago saying he was done with big budget films. He's dipping his career into more of an indie role. Evan Rachel Wood does a better than average job of portraying a Romanian, and Mads Mikkelsen is becoming more and more of an established actor than that guy from Casino Royale. It was fun to see some of the other small roles from Leo, Schweiger and Grint, but even if the film didn't quite have real depth to it, I thought it was better as a love story than action/adventure. It was a good ride really.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer

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