“The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman” full of flaws, but enjoyable nonetheless
November 21, 2013
When I came across this movie and saw Shia LaBeouf as the title character I checked into it to see what it was about. I know a lot of people are down on Shia due to some of the things that slips out of his mouth from time-to-time that may come across condescending and potentially arrogant, but I think his remarks have always come from more of a place of genuine love and passion for cinema than self-promoting boastfulness…
He doesn’t always play ball with the studios, and in-result pisses a lot of Hollywood big-wigs off; when he says that he won’t do another Transformers film b/c at that point “it would only be about the studios making money” – and when he admits that “Indiana Jones 4″ sucked, the writing is on the wall he may not last much longer in Hollywood…
And I think that’s okay for him b/c he seems more interested in making quality films than making tons of money; if that were the case he would’ve milked the “Transformers” franchise for as much as he could, and would attempt to take-on more American mainstream movies…
So, it seems Shia has left the United States for some time to work on Romanian film, “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman”.
Now, just by looking at the movie poster you can tell it has more of a gritty and edgy feel than most mainstream American films; this caught my attention, and when I looked into it and learned of the plot: “Charlie travels to Bucharest where he falls in love with a Romanian girl with a violent ex” and then I saw that the girl’s ex was played by:
I knew I had to check out this film ASAP!
Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about Mads Mikkelsen; he can do no wrong in my eyes. After seeing his brilliant performance in “Casino Royale” as the only villain of the Bond franchise to ever kill James Bond, and just watching the way he played the role leading with his intense eyes rather than a bunch of loud and redundant dialogue, he is forever cemented as one of my top-tier favorite actors…
So, now we have Shia LaBeouf about to take on Mads Mikkelsen in the gritty streets of Romania? Sign me up!
Caught in the crossfire is Gabriella, played by the often underrated Evan Rachel-Wood…
I was surprised how well Wood pulled-off the Romanian accent, but she was quite effective; more than I expected – and I think even a greater actress than I realized before seeing her here.
Okay, so I was intrigued by the plot…but how was the execution?
Honestly, I felt this movie could have been so much more. I liked it. But I didn’t love it. I don’t think it lived up to its potential. I feel that the story could have been further developed, and the plot relied on a series of questionable coincidences to move the story along. As it was done, it felt like it could’ve easily been over in the early stages of the movie, but one very out-of-the-ordinary circumstance led to another to prolong the film…
I would’ve liked it better had it developed the supporting characters in a more organic way and built up to a rewarding conclusion. I think Mads Mikkelsen should have been given a bit more to chew-on than what he was given; his character was interesting, but it just didn’t feel like the director gave him as much to work with as he could have.
Also, if Shia LaBeouf doesn’t have his hands full enough with Mads Mikkelsen, he also has to contend with:
who plays an associate of Mads Mikkelsen’s.
As you can imagine this combo of Mads & Til is quite the powerhouse…but they are actually heavily under-utilized.
The casting director gets an A+ for landing all of these tremendous actors in one film…but the writer I would give a C. There could have been so much more. I would have liked to learn much more about Nigel & Darko (Mikkelsen & Schweiger) than only learning about them in glimpses.
But don’t get me wrong, the film isn’t bad by any means. It just didn’t live up to it’s potential, in my opinion. With that said, I think this is still the type of film that a lot of people would love. At the same time I’m sure it would draw it’s fair share of haters, as well.
With a fun euro-techno score composed by Moby, gritty and authentic shooting locations in Romania, and a strong cast – this film is definitely worth checking-out.
Have you seen this movie?