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Charlie Countryman

Overview

A footloose young man must undergo a dark and brutal trial by fire to save the love of his life in this flashy, violent adventure saga from Fredrik Bond, a celebrated director of television commercials. American Charlie Countryman's Shia LaBeouf heart breaks as his mother Melissa Leo expires in a hospital, but seconds after her death, she reappears to him in spirit form and implores him to visit Bucharest, Romania. On the plane, he strikes up a conversation with an enigmatic stranger, who dies in mid-flight; not ...
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Overview

A footloose young man must undergo a dark and brutal trial by fire to save the love of his life in this flashy, violent adventure saga from Fredrik Bond, a celebrated director of television commercials. American Charlie Countryman's Shia LaBeouf heart breaks as his mother Melissa Leo expires in a hospital, but seconds after her death, she reappears to him in spirit form and implores him to visit Bucharest, Romania. On the plane, he strikes up a conversation with an enigmatic stranger, who dies in mid-flight; not long after, Charlie crosses paths with the man's daughter, beautiful cellist Gabi Banyai Evan Rachel Wood. The two quickly grow smitten with one another and begin an affair, but there are complications afoot, including Gabi's marriage to a dissolute, psychopathic Romanian drug dealer named Nigel Mads Mikkelsen and one of his associates, mobster and strip-club owner Darko Til Schweiger -- each of whom despises Charlie and wants to see him dead. A recklessness overcomes Charlie, however, and he soon reveals that he's willing to do anything to claim Gabi, even if it means putting his very life on the line at the hands of these thugs.
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Special Features

Behind the scenes; Deleted scenes
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
As written and directed by Frederik Bond, Charlie Countryman stars Shia LaBeouf as the title character, a young American man traveling in contemporary Romania. The picture opens with the hero's gruesome demise. Charlie - his face battered and bloodied nearly beyond recognition - dangles from a noose above a Romanian river. We see a thug ordering a beautiful young woman to blow Charlie away with a handgun. As the girl pumps lead into Countryman's chest, Bond uses an elderly male narrator (John Hurt, who sounds uncannily like Burgess Meredith here) to set up the ambience of a twisted contemporary fairy tale - one underscored by the cruel, circus-like, neon-lit backdrop of the opening scene. The movie then flashes back in time to relay the events that led up to this horrible spectacle. We witness Charlie's mother (Melissa Leo) dying and then reappearing to him as a spirit. In post-mortem form, she gives her son a random suggestion without further elaboration: do something specific with your life by traveling to Bucharest, Romania. He heeds her orders, and soon becomes caught up in the topsy-turvy world of a beautiful and sexy Romanian cellist named Gabi Banyai (Evan Rachel Wood), recently orphaned by the death of her father. In time, as Charlie begins to grow smitten with Gabi, he also falls into the clutches of two psychopathic Romanian drug dealers, Darko (Til Schweiger) and Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen) - the latter of whom is also Gabi's ex-husband; we can regonize Nigel and Gabi from their inclusion in the opening scene. Bond seems to want to use this tale to address lofty existential themes involving the critical importance of forging a path in one's own life, the laudability of dying for love, and the relevance of self-sacrifice within the cosmos. Philosophically, the movie comes closest to a sort of Christ-parable, where LaBeouf is even made up to look like Jesus, with long-hair and beard. He's a martyr who will pay the price of love, by taking on the burden of Gabi's sins via a violent death. There may have been a way to work this sort of philosophical undercurrent into the picture, but Bond comes nowhere close to finding it: what he tries to pass off as deep and profound comes across as unforgivably pretentious and silly. If one looks beyond Bond's slick, effects-heavy direction and stylistic panache, this story is as old as Methuselah: the young man who falls hard for the princess and must rescue her from the clutches of the evil villain; the crucifixion and redemption elements may gussy-up the story, but they can't disguise these centuries-old familiarities. The film's tone is ugly as well: it indulges in brutal, sadistic, bloody violence, which it then plays for ironic laughs. When Nigel attacks Charlie, he doesn't simply punch the young man in the face or put a gun or a knife to his chest: he smashes a bottle across a counter, holds the jagged glass up to his face, and implores him to "Make a funny face, faggot - just like Dizzy Gillespie... puff your cheeks out." Similarly, when Charlie innocently attempts to speak with some Romanian guards, they reach out and tazer him, and Bond cuts to a close-up of the men snickering. Examples like this, of which there are dozens throughout the movie, seem designed to cue roars of laughter from the audience, as it did when this critic watched it with a large crowd. Not only are these kinds of yocks unfunny, they are cruel and mean-spirited. Perhaps even more offputting is the overwhelming amount of merchandising present in the picture; in addition to product placements for such brands as Lays, Ikea, and Brother, we also get "witty" little nods to the career of Robert Redford, that have absolutely nothing to do with Charlie's story - as when one cabbie mistakes him for Hubble Gardiner, and another quips, "Whoa, man, what are you, in Three Days of the Condor or something?" These allusions seem merely included to get the film a berth at Sundance, and apparently succeeded in that regard, but that doesn't mean they are pleasant for us to listen to; in fact, they seem onanistic. The director of this picture reportedly built a remarkable career for himself as a prize-winning creator of television advertisements; that's a commendable accomplishment, but not a surprising one, for the bulk of the film plays like a slick, one-concept piece of schlock, made for viewers with five-second attention spans and a craving for sensationalism. Bond may have the talent in him to become a decent director, but on the basis of this movie, he has a very, very long way to go.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/21/2014
  • UPC: 687797144362
  • Original Release: 2013
  • Rating:

  • Source: Millennium
  • Region Code: A
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Color / Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:43:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 41,560

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Shia LaBeouf Charlie Countryman
Evan Rachel Wood Gabi Banyai
Mads Mikkelsen Nigel
Rupert Grint Karl
Melissa Leo Katie
Til Schweiger Darko
James Buckley Luc
John Hurt Voice Only
Vincent D'Onofrio Bill
Aubrey Plaza
Ion Caramitru Victor Ibanescu
Andrei Finti Bela
Vanessa Kirby Felicity
Gabriel Spahiu Taxi Driver
Bogdan Farcas Hostel Clerk
Florin Piersic Jr. Radu
Adrian Nicolae Counter Guy
Claudiu Trandafir Older Cop
Emilian Marnea Petru
Corneliu Ulici Paul
Michael J. Reynolds Doctor
Cosmin Paduraru Bosko
Adrian Pavlovski Pedrag
Musat Dragos Cop #1
Florin Serbanescu Cop #2
George Andreescu Helpful Passenger
Ioan Andrei Ionescu Airport Official #1
Gelu Nitu Airport Official #2
Lia Sinchevici Waitress
Dorin Zaharia Bouncer
Florica Carstea Hospital Visitor
Patricia Poslusnic Young Gabi
Calina Epuran Teenage Gabi
David Petcu Darko's Kid
Lucian Iftime Kebab Man
Gigel Frone Cell Singer
Emanoil Florentina Gypsy Woman
Technical Credits
Fredrik Bond Director
Mark Bakunas Associate Producer
Christophe Beck Score Composer
Albert Berger Producer
Nicolas Chartier Executive Producer
Joel Collins Production Designer
Adrian Curelea Art Director
Deadmono Score Composer
Matt Drake Screenwriter
Craig Flores Producer
Gabe Hilfer Musical Direction/Supervision
William Horberg Producer
Chad J. Hughes Sound/Sound Designer
Jennifer Johnson Costumes/Costume Designer
Jenn Lee Associate Producer
Aaron "Luc" Levy Sound/Sound Designer
Patrick Newall Executive Producer
Dean Parisot Executive Producer
Dominic Rustam Associate Producer
Edi Stancu Choreography
Dragos Stanomir Sound Mixer
Mark Taylor Asst. Director
Roman Vasyanov Cinematographer
Hughes Winborne Editor
Ron Yerxa Producer
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