Title – The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013)
Director – Fredrik Bond (feature debut)
Cast – Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, Til Schweiger, James Buckley, Vincent D’Onofrio, Melissa Leo
Plot – Upon the request of his recently deceased mother Kate (Leo) Charlie Countryman (LaBeouf) jets off to Bucharest to find himself and grieve for his loss. After a strange occurrence on the flight over Charlie is set on a path that allows him to meet the beautiful and mysterious Gabi (Wood) and in turn her envious and dangerous criminal husband Nigel (Mikkelsen).
“Do you think things like this happen to people?”
Review by Eddie on 14/04/2014
Nigh on impossible to categorize, kookier than a Tim Burton Halloween party, an at times borderline incoherent shambles and a film destined for a life time in the Cult selection of cinema, Fredrik Bond’s energetic and unique The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman is an absolute blast of fresh air that despite all its many faults and inadequacies is a film well worth tracking down for its undeniable charms and ability to never conform to expectations.
The story at the centre of Charlie Countryman feels no need to adhere to much formal structure or the ABC’s of movie storytelling and fly’s the line between being a straight up drama, a love story, a frenetic thriller and some type of modern day fairy tale where the dead talk and Mads Mikkelsen wears a vast array of insane shirts with a highlight being his sausage dog getup. Charlie’s journey to Bucharest is undertaken because his dead mum told him to go there and once there the story continues to surprise, frustrate and involve in equal measure and Bond has such a keen eye for not only the eye-popping visual (a scene where Charlie and his new friends Luc and Carl played by the Inbetweeners Buckley and a very naughty wizard in the form of Grint first party a particular highpoint) but a great feel for the pace and structure of the film that you can’t help but go along with all its craziness and you’ll find yourself asking internally “since when has Shia LaBeouf been so tolerable?”.
In a role that showcases a talent that is missing far too often in his other projects LaBeouf delivers here in what could be his best role outside of kids classic Holes. Charlie is clearly a messed up person and LaBeouf plays him to perfection with the right amount of vulnerability, smarts and craziness that while hard to relate to is always watchable. LaBeouf is well supported by the other cast members and in particular by a menacing Mads Mikkelsen who continues to impress in everything he does. Mikkelsen’s role of drug dealing gangster Nigel is a strange one but fits in well with the films tone. Evan Rachael Wood is perhaps the films weak link in a role that doesn’t exactly click in the ways we needed for the love story to be more involving.
Not for everyone and as stated early filled with many various faults The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman is also more enjoyable the countless other films released on a week to week basis. A fine debut film by director Bond and a role that shows LaBeouf can in fact act and act well, Charlie Countryman should be sort out but perhaps not by Harry Potter fans who wish to remember Ron Weasley as a clean cut ginger wizard not a budding adult movie star called Boris Pecker.
3 and a half hard partying Ronald Weasley’s out of 5