Charlie Countryman, 2013, Romania/USA
Just a note: This film seems to have been released under a number of titles, including The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman, and Kill Charlie Countryman. It’s available on Apple TV under the title Kill Charlie Countryman.
Charlie (Shia LaBeouf) heads to Bucharest, Romania after the death of his mother (Melissa Leo). In a vision, his recently deceased mother urged him to go there. While on the flight, he speaks with his seat mate, Victor (Ion Caramitru), who is returning home after visiting America. He dies mid-flight and Charlie meets his daughter, Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood) after he lands. He immediately falls in love with her. He watches her play the cello at the opera house where he meets Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen), Gabi’s charismatic thug of a husband. Charlie is persistent and eager to win Gabi’s heart, despite the danger he is in at the hands of Nigel and his ban/”d of associates.
Parts of the film worked. I thought the cinematography was beautiful. There was a chase scene that was especially well executed. I also thought it was quite funny at times. Mikkelsen was perfectly charming as the villainous Nigel – he has the best lines and the film seems to come alive when he is present.
The story itself was a bit cliché. I found myself wondering if such a story would have any basis in reality. Would a young man really risk his life for a woman he just met a day or two earlier that he “loves”? I definitely don’t need a story to be realistic to enjoy it, but I just wasn’t buying the premise of this one. Charlie wasn’t a particularly well-written character, either. He was foolish, wishy-washy, and not all that interesting to watch. I’ll give LaBeouf some credit: he did the best he could with what he was given, but he sure wasn’t given a lot to work with.
Frankly, one of the more interesting aspects of the film was the doomed love story between Gabi and Nigel. There was a brief montage detailing how they fell in love, and Gabi’s realization of what Nigel was. There was more of a story in those two minutes than there was during any of Gabi and Charlie’s exchanges. Perhaps that would have been a stronger film than the story of a foolish young man falling in love with a woman caught in a dangerous situation.
That being said, the film was reasonably entertaining. It wasn’t great, but I was never bored watching it either.