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The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman - Review

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

Review by Rob Carnevale

SHIA LaBeouf takes centre stage for this hallucinatory romantic thriller that entertains intermittently on its way to becoming something of a wreck.

Directed by Fredrik Bond and loosely based on the experiences of its writer, Matt Drake, The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman finds LaBeouf playing the eponymous teenager who, following the loss of his mother, heads to Romania to find himself, only to fall for a young cellist (Evan Rachel Wood) who is also struggling to cope with the recent loss of her dad and to escape a gangster boyfriend (Mads Mikkelsen).

Their ensuing whirlwind romance is designed to be as violent as it is humourous while grappling with big ideas about love, loss and identity.

But sadly Bond’s direction also feels disjointed and struggles to balance the various elements while Drake’s screenplay fails to ring emotionally true and even flirts with being pretentious.

That’s not to write Charlie Countryman off entirely as the film has some decent performances (most notably from LaBeouf, Wood and Mikkelsen) as well as some interplay that hints at what might have been. Bond also employs his soundtrack to dizzying effect, heightening the headrush/hallucinatory feel of certain sequences, and also drops in a couple of decent set pieces.

But ultimately, Charlie Countryman bites off more than it can chew and winds up feeling more absurd than memorable.

And while notorious for being the film in which LaBeouf reportedly tripped on acid while filming, it’s a notoriety that will only be short-lived given how quickly the film drifts from memory.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 103mins
UK Release Date: October 31, 2014