Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" Review

  "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" opens up with an arresting image, the titular character (played by Shia LaBeouf) dangling upside down in woozy slow-motion, his face brutally beaten and bloody. As narrator (John Hurt) explains, Charlie Countryman is languishing in the wind about to be shot by a red-headed girl, and that the young man had to die. And he did it all for love.

Cut to present day. Charlie is about is about to lose his ailing mother (Melissa Leo). His mom's boyfriend (a brief Vincent D'Onofrio cameo*) tells Charlie this is going to be the day they take her off life support (the reasons for her state remain aren't explained), and they drive together to the hospital. Charlie and the boyfriend pop some pills, sip some booze and say their final goodbyes. Charlie has some kind of fantastical anxiety attack as she passes -- complete with visualizations of her soul leaving her body -- and he runs outside, only to discover he can speak to dead people.
-->
From the afterlife, his mom, never one for giving much direction or advice, laments that she was a poor maternal figure. Desperate for something, Charlie asks her for some advice of what he should do next. Go to Bucharest, she says. Why the capital of Romania of all places? What's the personal connection? This is completely unclear, but Charlie packs his bags, jumps on a plane and heads straight into a bloody, violent and romantic adventure far greater than he could ever imagine.
On the plane, he meets Mr. Banyai, a curious Romanian man who just wants to talk and talk. Charlie eventually indulges him and they discuss life and his daughter. The man dies in his sleep, and in the spiritual world, he tells Charlie to send his daughter a message. Deplaned, Charlie, after some unnecessary altercations with the airport security, meets Gabi Banyai (Evan Rachel Wood).

A cello player with a mysterious dark past, Charlie -- dedicated to the spontaneity this adventure his mother sent him on can provide -- becomes drawn to Gabi like a magnet, and soon is embroiled in the troubles of her sordid past that includes a violent and unhinged ex-husband named Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen) and his equally psychotic partner Darko (Til Schweiger). Englishmen Rupert Grint and James Buckley play would-be amusing Tweedledum and Tweedledee comic relief figures, but they're just one extraneous part of what starts out as a coming-of-age personal discovery story and quickly deteriorates into a ungainly violent love-story cum fairy tale that feels like it was made in the post-Tarantino '90s (with a little bit of eurotrash flavor thrown on top for good measure).


via Indiewire,  1.22.13

* Vincent D'Onofrio as 'Bill'.  



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List of films in production.

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