Sunday, February 14, 2016

Looking for adventure, he goes to Bucharest

Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood in "Charlie Countryman," about a man who falls for a woman who belongs to another.
Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood in "Charlie Countryman," about a man who falls for a woman who belongs to another. Millennium Entertainment
About the movie
Charlie Countryman
Action, Adventure; Comedy
MPAA rating:
for some brutal violence, language throughout, sexuality/nudity, and drug use
Running time:
Release date:
Montserrat Lombard; Til Schweiger; Rupert Grint; Mads Mikkelsen; Vanessa Kirby; Aubrey Plaza; Evan Rachel Wood; Shia LaBeouf; Melissa Leo; James Buckley
Directed by:
Fredrik Bond


'Shia LaBeouf IS Charlie Countryman," the poster for Charlie Countryman declares, as if hordes of Transformers fans will take one look at the tagline and stampede to the multiplexes.

Unlikely. But if they do, what they will find is a far scruffier, more melancholy LaBeouf. His Charlie is a man at the end of a relationship (Aubrey Plaza has the adios scene), who has just stood bedside in a hospital, weeping as his mother dies. Yes, that's Melissa Leo with the tubes and the respirator, but don't worry, she comes back in apparitional form. And her last piece of advice to her son: Go to Bucharest.

Which he does. And which is where most of Charlie Countryman transpires, after a fateful plane trip and some unpleasant business with Romanian customs officers.

So Charlie wanders around and meets the henna-haired Gabi Ibanescu (Evan Rachel Wood, thick with accent), who happens to be the daughter of the man he sat next to on his flight. She is a cellist in the Bucharest Opera orchestra, and also the wife of a gangland madman (Mads Mikkelsen). They know her well, too, at a strip club Charlie visits with his youth hostel roomies (James Buckley and Harry Potter's Rupert Grint). Gabi's past is shadier than a tree-lined path in the Cismigiu Gardens.

Charlie Countryman, directed by first-timer Fredrik Bond, boasts several efficient chase scenes, car crashes, and slo-mo moments of emotiveness. There's underworld intrigue, and Bucharest gets to show itself off nicely. Between the menace and the landmarks, Charlie stalks Gabi, insisting that they are destined for each other, that they are an "us," working some drippy similes about oysters and pearls into his entreaties.

Wood, for her part, can appear sad, or seductive, or mysterious, or happy, or lovestruck, or deeply troubled. Gabi is also very good with a gun, so look out.


Charlie Countryman **1/2 (Out of four stars)

Directed by Fredrik Bond. With Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, and Melissa Leo. Distributed by Millennium Entertainment.

Running time: 1 hour, 43 mins.

Parent's guide: R (violence, nudity, sex, profanity, adult themes)

Playing at: AMC Cherry Hill/NJ




Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
Latest Videos:
Also on
letter icon Newsletter