The things we do for love. People end up doing the dumbest things when in love, its a known fact. Love is blind, they say and ‘they’ are true, most of the time if not all. Charlie Countryman is the story of Charlie played by Shia LaBeuof in a similar scenario. The director Fredrick Bond’s debut movie, Charlie Countryman stands out in terms of visual flair and style.
Shia LaBeuof, surprisingly shows off his astounding acting skills here. He’s come a long way from his Witwicky days and it shows. Charlie was a splendid role Shia was put into, quirky and goofy still, but way better than his earlier works. I’d say he displays a much more mature performance here. And it remains to see how well he’ll perform in Lars Von Triers’ erotic epic Nymphomaniac. It was hard to take eyes off Evan Rachel Wood who was inexplicably gorgeous as Gabi. Except when she talked in a odd Romanian accent, when half of the charm jumped off a cliff. It was hard to believe Charlie and Gabi could fall in love in such a short time. I can infer Charlie’s feelings for her, being as naive as he was but Gabi, having gone through a fair chunk of regretful past, it just felt weird that she got smitten by him; nonetheless it worked wonders when they were on screen together. Mads Mikkelsen plays the psychopath thug Nigel and couldn’t be more insane and intimidating.
The movie has a weak storyline and a weaker screenplay, but those are forgettable when the movie looks this gorgeous. I never thought Romania would be this alive. Fredrick, having directed music videos, knows how to take the shots beautifully and stylishly. The scenes were smeared with subtle color tones which made it feel like it was both warm and cold. And I said the story was only weak but it does keep things intriguing till end. Especially Charlie’s ability or delusion to talk to the dead was a zany mechanic that kept the story moving.
An immense influence of music can be seen throughout the movie. Once again, Fredrick’s experience with music videos comes into play making the movie’s soundtrack enlivened with tracks from Moby, The XX and M83. Christophe Beck’s score was also soothing to the ear.
Charlie Countryman might not be everybody’s cup of tea but it was purely a sensory enrapturing experience for me. It has got comedy, action, drama and most of all romance, and it might have been more, had it got an NC-17 rating for its oral sex scene which was cut by MPAA so as to get it rated R. It might not be a worthy contender or come listed in this years best movies, but do give it a chance, have a walk in Romania with Charlie Countryman and fall in love with Gabi.