The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

"Very Good"

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman Review


Shia LaBeouf is well-cast in this freewheeling combination of comedy, romance and action. He plays a scruffy guy with no plans and nothing to lose, lost in a strange culture while falling in love with the wrong woman. It's not a particularly original premise, and much of what happens feels wildly improbable, but the characters and situations are so entertaining that we can't help but hold on for the ride.

It opens in Chicago, where Charlie (LaBeouf) watches helplessly as his mother (Melissa Leo) dies in hospital, asking her what he should do next. Then there she is appearing to him, telling him to visit Bucharest. "That's weirdly specific," he replies, but he follows her advice, and on the flight over has another encounter with a dead person. This one asks him to look up his daughter Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood) and give her a message. Of course, Charlie is instantly smitten, but tries to ignore the fact that Gabi's psychopathic husband Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen) looks easily capable of murder. As does the mobster club owner Darko (Til Schweiger) Charlie has a run in with while out on the town with his youth hostel roommates, two chucklehead Brits (Rupert Grint and James Buckley).

As the title suggests, Charlie feels like death is inevitable for him, especially now that he seems to have caught whatever that kid from The Sixth Sense had. LaBeouf gives Charlie just the right mix of hapless loser and quick-thinking resourcefulness, and his chemistry with Wood is tetchy and fun to watch. Meanwhile, the scene-stealing supporting stars Mikkelsen, Schweiger, Grint and Buckley add a terrific mixture of comedy silliness and dark peril. This seems to be director Fredrik Bond's main goal here: to blend genres from grim drama to sweet romance to goofy slapstick to Taken-style action violence.

Not all of this gels together, but the jarring tonal shifts make it fairly impossible to guess what will happen next, even as it's clear that this is essentially about Charlie's personal odyssey of self-discovery. Indeed, his internal journey is far more interesting than all of the fights, shoot-outs and chases. At least the Romanian settings offer something new, veering between the anarchic back streets and the Old World grandeur of the opera house and central square. Meanwhile, Bond packs the screen with visual effects, sometimes boldly inventive but more often subtle touches that add spark to a rather grim scene. So even if the film feels sometimes unfocussed and random, it at least looks very cool.

 



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Production compaines: MediaPro Pictures, Bona Fide Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Fredrik Bond

Producer: , Craig J. Flores, ,

Starring: as Charlie Countryman, as Gabi Ibanescu, as Nigel, as Darko, as Carl, as Luke, as Kate, as Felicity, as Madison, as Victor Ibanescu, as Bill, as Narrator

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