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Wick's Review

Created Nov 16, 2013 07:08PM PST • Edited Feb 09, 2017 12:00AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Very Good 3.5

    Charlie Countryman follows a dweeb of the same name as he flees his hometown in a fog of grief following the death of his Mother. Bucharest is his destination, though perhaps he was supposed to go to Budapest. He’s not sure, just a he’s not sure about most things. He’s the type of naive fool who stumbles from one predicament to another, impulsively apologizing each time.

    This debut from director Fredrik Bond and writer Matt Drake seems intended to make Charlie Countryman an archetype as much as a real character, giving their movie a smarmy whiff of film school preciousness.

    It’s got a lot to recommend it however, starting with the beautiful and complex Romanian woman Charlie meets as soon as he lands, and for whom he predictably falls head-over-heels.

    Charlie Countryman is thus more a fable about love than an actual love story. While intensely romantic and deeply comedic, I can’t bring myself to declare it a romantic comedy, even if it is often very funny.

    Is it a great movie? Some say so, with good reason. The acting is great, featuring a cast studded with half a dozen great actors: Mads Mikkelsen first amongst them, with Melissa Leo, Evan Rachel Wood, Til Schweiger and Vincent D’Onofrio close behind. Way behind is Shia LaBeouf, the titular star.

    LaBeouf’s Charlie Countryman is a 21st Century’s Ratso Rizzo. Given that this is an action-comedy, he can also be thought of as a dull Woody Allen nebbish who can take a punch.

    I rate the film as Very Good, mostly because the absurd script is predictable and therefore kinda boring. However, some dudes in my showing were woofing it up afterwards, which I totally get. It is a fun film, in a dark and hedonistic kinda way. Movie lovers young enough to dream about living it up in a wild hostel in an exotic foreign land will eat it up.

    Another note about Charlie Countryman the archetype: He represents a weak America abroad in the world. Is there a better personification of Obama’s America on the world stage than that?

    In any case, Millenials may soon start to refer to certain dudes in their circles as Charlie Countrymen.

  3. Great 4.0

    Shia LaBeouf’s minimally acceptable moviestar attributes include a wiry build and modestly angular face. However his face isn’t interesting enough to hold our gaze, what with a nearly nonexistent upper lip amongst other deficiencies. Nor is his voice compelling. Thus he’s mostly in his element playing whiny characters. The anxiety-ridden Charlie Countryman suits him to a tee.

    Fortunately the rest of the cast are mostly all terrific.

    • Evan Rachel Wood – an American – plays a Romanian cellist who inspires fatal attractions. Wood is another odd moviestar, pretty and yet without a distinctive face. Her flat delivery works well here when filtered through a credible Romanian accent.
    • Mads Mikkelsen – a Dane – plays British. Mikkelsen’s amongst the most compelling moviestars working today. He’s got it all: killer look, voice, delivery and charisma — simply a must-see actor.
    • Til Schweiger – a German – plays a Romanian strip club owner. Schweiger came to my attention with his notable role in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. He’s still holding it.
    • Rupert Grint plays British. There’s a stretch. However, the actor who will always be Ron Weasly continues to craft a credible career post-Hogwarts.
    • James Buckley is even weaslier than Grint.
    • Ion Caramitru is charming as Wood’s voluble father.
    • Vincent D’Onofrio cameos as a self-medicating Chicago widower. Perfect.
    • Melissa Leo’s spectral Mother is an ideal role for this stellar actress.
    • John Hurt’s voice is always welcome, here as the Narrator.
  4. Male Stars Very Good 3.5
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Really Great 4.5
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Very Good 3.5

    Charlie Countryman is rather gleefully nihilistic, a sign that it’s a Left Wing film. In this case, it’s a particularly beautiful nihilism, especially the opening death scene, which is not only beautiful, it’s godlessly transcendent. Don’t fear the reaper. Indeed.

    Director Fredrik Bond and writer Matt Drake deserve another turn at-bat, even though it’s clear that their debut film is going to sink without a trace at the box office. Bond shows particular promise.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play OK 2.5
  11. Music Very Good 3.5
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.5

    Ecstasy gets its movie in Charlie Countryman. Charlie doesn’t seek it out, tries to avoid it even. But when he beds down at a youth hostel in Bucharest, it finds him. Finds its way into his beer specifically. His Romanian adventure becomes even crazier at that point.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.4
  16. Violence Brutal 2.6
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Surreal 2.1

    The movie is full of ghostly apparitions, which I’m assuming are figments of Charlie Countryman’s imagination. Those aside, it is both circumstantially and biologically surreal.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.6
  20. Biological Surreal 2.6
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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