Plot: What’s it about?
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past several months, it’s safe to assume you’ve heard a thing or two about Shia LaBeouf and the plagiarism accusations. It can be hard to put that out of our minds when seeing some of his work now. That can be something hard to recover from, but I’m not feeling sorry for the guy. He’s made more money than most of us will see in a lifetime. Of course this doesn’t justify plagiarizing, but still. I had only seen a small promo for this film before receiving it, but it does have a pretty unique plot. In the featurette on this disc, star Evan Rachel Wood compares it to True Romance. That wouldn’t be my first comparison, but I think it has a few similarities. The main character is sort of lost and directionless with his life and meets a girl with some heavy baggage. There’s also the mafia element. I think the comparisons end there, however. This film has much more of an Indy vibe whereas True Romance could appeal to a broader audience and not to mention an awesome climax.
Charlie Countryman stars Shia LaBeouf as the title character. His late mother appears to him in a vision and tells him to go to Bucharest. He does just this and on the plane ride, a passenger sitting next to him suddenly dies. This leads him to the now deceased man’s daughter Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). Charlie is drawn to her almost instantly, and so begins their strange and (strangely) romantic journey. There wouldn’t be any problem if not for Gabi’s overly controlling Ex-husband, Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royale). He takes the “Till death do us part” a bit too literally. Needles to say, he’s not too fond of Charlie and even beats him up on more than one occasion. I’ve read many reviews stating that LaBeouf is the weak link here. I’ll be the first to say that he’s never been my favorite actor, but I think he does an admirable job here. He has just the right amount of likeability to him and I was willing to follow his journey throughout the film. There are suspenseful moments and even some amusing ones as well. I enjoyed Charlie’s arriving in a foreign place and trying to maneuver around. There are also some fun moments with the friends he makes. Rupert Grant from the Harry Potter films has a supporting role here and does a nice job as well. This is certainly one strange film and I admit, it did start to lose me after a while. It starts very strong, but I found myself growing less interested as it went on. I do think its pros outweigh the cons and it’s certainly a film that I could see benefiting on repeat viewings. For some this will be most welcome while I suspect many will shut this off before the end credits even begin. I think it’s a film that will get a strong reaction one way or the other. That counts for something I suppose. One funny side-note: A character makes a reference to James Bond. This film starts Mads Mikkelsen who played the villain in the James Bond film Casino Royale. I just found that interesting.
Video: How’s it look?
You can probably guess that this will be an interesting film visually speaking. Apparently it was shot digitally. Colors looked deep and rich with textures on clothing nicely detailed. One of the most notable things was Shia’s scruffy beard and hair seen throughout this film. You can spot individual hairs if that’s your thing. The print showed no flaws to speak of. There’s a pretty wide color range throughout the film and it’s well rendered here. The image is AVC encoded with a 1.78:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The Dolby True HD track works well too. It stayed reasonably active throughout and all channels got good use. Vocals were alive and clear throughout with no issues to speak of. There are some louder sequences in bars and clubs and those give a nice boost as well. I wasn’t crazy about the films score, but it is given justice here. This is a worthwhile track to go with the film.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Deleted Scenes – These go for about 21 minutes with the biggest ones being the alternate beginning and ending. This adds a narration and I think the film is better without it. There are a few alternate scenes and some extended bits. There’s nothing to get too excited over.
- Behind the Scenes – This is a decent overview of the film. I mentioned above that we hear a comparison to True Romance. The stars seem very passionate about this project. Fans will enjoy this feature.