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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars... A beautiful mess, shot on location in Bucharest
"Charlie Countryman" (2013 release; 108 min.) brings the odd but somewhat charming story of Charlie Countryman (played by Shia LaBeouf). As the movie opens, Charlie is at his mom's death bed in the hospital. In a dream (hallucination?) shortly after she passes away, he asks her what he should to next, and she tells him "Go to Bucharest". Don't ask why (no...
Published 12 months ago by Paul Allaer

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly Lopsided
A short review that is currently on the front page of this listing suggests astutely that a film about the love affair between Mads Mikkelsen's very charismatic bad boy and the cello-playing good-girl heroine would have been great fun to watch. Instead we have the tedium of Shia LaBeouf oh so implausibly bumbling around Bucharest and fumbling his way into the...
Published 7 months ago by M Marsh


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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars... A beautiful mess, shot on location in Bucharest, November 16, 2013
This review is from: Charlie Countryman (DVD)
"Charlie Countryman" (2013 release; 108 min.) brings the odd but somewhat charming story of Charlie Countryman (played by Shia LaBeouf). As the movie opens, Charlie is at his mom's death bed in the hospital. In a dream (hallucination?) shortly after she passes away, he asks her what he should to next, and she tells him "Go to Bucharest". Don't ask why (no explanation is given), but Charlie decides to take his mom's advice.On the flight over there he befriends Victor, who promptly dies in his sleep. Charlie arrives in Bucharest and gets to know Victor's daughter Gabi (played by Evan Rachel Wood), and falls for her. Unfortunately for Charlie, Gabi is married to Nigel (played by Mads Mikkelsen), a crazy loose canon with ties to the mob. Meanwhile Charlie finds a place to stay at the Marco Polo youth hostel in Bucharest and befriends his two British room mates who have a liking for acid (yes, the drug). Can Charlie keep Gabi out of harm's way (from Nigel)? Will Gabi fall for Charlie? What becomes of the two room mates?To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first, it seems that LaBeouf is trying hard to stay away from more Transformer-like predictable roles. Last year there was the excellent "Lawless", and now this. On top of that, LaBeouf looks scrungy for most of the movie, I suppose to give his role an even more authentic feel. (Along the same lines, LaBeouf reportedly took acid for real to shoot the acid hallucination scene.) Unfortunately, none of that fixes the movie's subpar script, which has holes in it the size of Manhattan and doesn't seem to know whether it wants to be a rom-com or an action/adventure movie. Second, Mads Mikkelsen is absolutely delightful as the crazed husband/crime guy. Third, I hardly recognized Evan Rachel Wood as the Romanian girl. She plays up the Eastern European accent on top of that. Last but certainly not least, except for the opening scenes (which take place in Chicago), the entire movie is shot on location in Bucharest. I've never seen the city look more beautiful than in this movie.

Imagine my surprise when this movie opened on a single screen for all of Greater Cincinnati here this weekend, without any pre-release fanfare or advertising. I was in the mood for something different and took a chance on this so I went to see it last night. I got a quasi-private showing, as in: there was only one other person besides myself in the entire theatre. When that happens on a Friday evening of its opening weekend, you know a movie is commercially D.O.A. But despite its obvious flaws, I quite enjoyed this beautiful mess. If you are in the mood for something different than your standard Hollywood fare like Last Vegas or Bad Grandpa, "Charlie Countryman" is worth taking a chance on, be it in the theatre or on DVD/Blu-ray.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly Lopsided, April 19, 2014
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This review is from: Charlie Countryman (DVD)
A short review that is currently on the front page of this listing suggests astutely that a film about the love affair between Mads Mikkelsen's very charismatic bad boy and the cello-playing good-girl heroine would have been great fun to watch. Instead we have the tedium of Shia LaBeouf oh so implausibly bumbling around Bucharest and fumbling his way into the aforementioned girl's heart. Which speaks to the hopelessly lopsided nature of this movie, in which Mikkelsen is asked to play a heartthrob of a gangster who is explicitly called "the most beautiful man /she/ had ever seen" by the heroine, while poor Shia LaBeouf is stuck with playing a character who reminded me of a nerdy boy constantly mistaking a video game for reality. He should have stuck to his PlayStation. Despite his undoubted good looks, it is by no means the case that Mads Mikkelsen normally chooses to play sexy or romantic leads, but here, no two ways about it, he is intended to be drop dead glamorous, and although the script also indicates that he is a bad dude, we never SEE him being bad in any way that matters to us. So naturally any viewer still possessed of an ounce of sexuality, male or female, aches to see vastly more of him on the screen, because that's just the nature of movies. Instead, however, we have pitifully little of him while we're stuck with scene after scene of Shia stumbling, bumbling, or mumbling outworn romantic clichés. Which leaves us to wonder what on earth is wrong with this heroine. Does she want a green card that badly, is that her motivation? Because she is not provided with any other. I have nothing against LaBeouf as such. The only other time I've ever seen him was as the male ingénue in Lawless, a great film in which he was just fine, so when I read that he wanted to "change his image," I assumed that meant no more ingenues. And to be fair, his IMAGE here, in the literal sense of the word, is different; now he looks like a skinny character actor with hair sprouting in unfortunate places. But he is still definitely playing the ingénue, far too naive and downright dumb to be called a leading man -- indeed, far more naÔve than the girl he is presuming to rescue. Most of the fault for all of this lopsidedness lies with the script, which is ocassionally funny but mostly just silly. But the rest of the fault is probably a pitfall of Indie films in general. How could a casting director say no to LaBeouf, who is a "name," after all? And HOW could the same director say no to Mads Mikkelsen, who is by now an internationally respected actor? Yet so skilled is Mikkelsen in the scene-stealing role assigned to him that it's impossible to imagine any actor but a very few, very handsome, very expensive movie stars holding their own against him, and that group would NOT include Shia LeBeouf. So while the movie has a few amusing moments and some very nice footage of Bucharest, a city most of us will never visit, I would still advise that it's not worth the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shia got me back to him, September 2, 2014
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This review is from: Charlie Countryman (DVD)
Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint and James Buckley. Truly excellent performances from all these very fine actors. Before I talk about Shia LABeouf, here is the low down on the movie. Charlie (Shia) loses his mom, she in a vision tells him to go to Bucharest, he does meets Gabi (Evan) and all kinds of bad things happen, really bad things and Charlie falls in love with Gabi so he doesn't care how messed up he gets by the ex-boyfriend (Mads) or a nightclub owner who needs something she has (Til, he is always so good). Now for Shia....I have become disenchanted with him lately, due to whatever meltdowns he has been having. This performance put him back on my radar...what an amazing job, insightful, moving, daring and just all around great! I felt what he was feeling, and my heart broke for him all thru this movie. BTW, he got himself into amazing shape too. lean and so defined.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shia LaBeou; a promising, young Actor with future intrigue in his performances, September 14, 2014
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This review is from: Charlie Countryman (Amazon Instant Video)
Shia LaBeouf is endearing and a fascinating athletic actor to watch. The story line is clever and original with a little essence of Kurt Vonnegat time bending thrown in by way of speaking thru the veil of the great beyond. I'd have watched it twice if the Amazon stream wouldn't have stopped. Amazon, please consider giving customers at least 24 hrs for their movie purchase. Other than that, it's a great offer from Amazon/ It's a convenient & cozy way to watch movies in bed from your laptop! Shia, is a sincere and authentic actor, was also very good in Lawless (2012) and The Company You Keep (2012). I enjoy many aspects of film; one of which is watching an actors body of work and seeing their development as they evolve in their craft. I recommend Shia LaBeouf as one young actor to keep your eye on.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heading for a Fall, March 8, 2014
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Robert Amsel (Steelton, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Charlie Countryman (Amazon Instant Video)
This starts as an original, promising movie of a young American, Charlie (Shia LaBeouf) who travels to Bucharest following his mother's death and becomes involved with a beautiful cellist (Evan Rachel Wood), who has unsavory underworld connections. It's fresh and unpredictable until about two-thirds of the way into the film when Charlie finds evidence of a major crime and proceeds to act in such a monumentally stupid way that viewers may find themselves hurling objects at the screen. The "heavy" in this movie is played with gusto by Mads Mikkelsen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is amazingly brilliant.. superb acting from Mads Mikkelsen and Evan ..., September 27, 2014
This review is from: Charlie Countryman (DVD)
This movie is amazingly brilliant .. superb acting from Mads Mikkelsen and Evan Rachel Wood… this intense love, coming into ones own, adventure drama and action movie is one of the best in its genre !!!! I cannot believe it didn’t get nominated for anything .. phenomenal story line keeps you on the edge of your seat ..and it’s a thinker as well.. maybe that’s why some “middle of the road” movie goers didn’t give it that many stars or good ratings or maybe not even get it… it’s one of my top 10 fave Indie and all time fave movies all together …even has humours lines from Mads Mikkelsen .. and others … a defiantly must see film…!!!!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth watching, September 1, 2014
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Wow! I'm generally inclined to give films the benefit of the doubt, but this was a true failure of a film. Aside from its gritty travelogue vision of a gangster infested Bucharest (which makes one want to travel there about as much as Midnight Express once did for Turkey), the characters make little sense (you know its bad when you're thinking that the confused American protagonist, as portrayed by Shia LeBouef, kind of deserves to be punished for his stupidity), the forced romance even less.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be recognized, January 15, 2014
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This review is from: Charlie Countryman (Amazon Instant Video)
Although some parts of the money weren't as great as they should be, I gave this 5 stars because I like Shia Labeouf's acting and felt like he did a phenomenal job portraying the character as almost a "lost soul" in search of something better after his mother passes away. The rest was a bit odd to me, but it intrigued me with raw emotions you got from the character and his struggles and naivet (sp) type personality.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best cinematography I've seen in recent years, December 2, 2013
This film is a visual feast but sadly the story and the acting (to an extent) are not that great. It's a modern day love story set in Romania and both leads give good performances, despite a somewhat lackluster script. The movie as a whole is a bit overly melodramatic and it drags at times. .. there are certainly quite a few scenes that should have been removed. The most interesting thing about this film (besides some very innovative/interesting camerawork) is that you actually get to see Shia act for the second time in his entire career, which he hasn't done in any of his movies since Battle of Shaker Heights a decade ago. I saw potential in him in that film and have been sadly disappointed with everything he's done since... until this.

Give this one a look for the cinematography but don't expect it to have any sort of lasting impact. The excellent soundtrack/score (by Moby) deserves a mention too; it's one of the best scores I've ever heard. M83's music is used to transcendent effect in combination with the camerawork and the result is very moving. Very reminiscent of Lost in Translation, as far as that relationship goes.

Considering his transition from music videos to full length films, I'd say the director has some major potential to be realized.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The part of this movie is Mads Mikkelsen...., December 16, 2013
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This review is from: Charlie Countryman (Amazon Instant Video)
Any film with the incomparable Mads Mikkelsen is a treat. Sir Mads does not disappoint in the role of Nigel, a handsome, not-so-nice gangster, with a soft spot in his heart for his estranged wife! He steals every scene he is in. On a purely superficial note, Shia Le Boeuf looks like a hamster in comparison to the Scandinavian god Mads Mikkelsen.
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Charlie Countryman
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