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Review: More like the unnecessary death of a good cast in a bad movie

January 24th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Katie Swain

PARK CITY—Fredrik Bond, director of “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman,” walked onto the Eccles Theater stage at Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday, frazzled and confused, half-eaten apple in hand, admitting he was very hung over. While Bond was unable to answer several of the audience’s questions concerning his movie, he did inadvertently answer the bigger question of why his movie was so unbearably bad.


Evan Rachel Wood and Shia LaBeouf, stars of Fredrik Bond’s “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman,”meet the press at Sundance. BEN HANSEN photo

Bond’s film, which premiered on Monday, has an impressive cast—Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Rupert Grint and Mads Mikkelsen—which makes its failure that much more unexpected and disappointing.

Charlie (LaBeouf) is a lost young man looking for direction and purpose after his mother passes away. She comes back to him in a vision giving him the apparently random, but very specific instruction to go to Bucharest.

While on the plane to Bucharest, Charlie encounters a nice old man who dies peacefully in his sleep while in the air, his head resting on Charlie’s shoulder. Incredibly, he also comes to visit Charlie in a vision with the final request that Charlie deliver a souvenir hat to his daughter living in Bucharest. Rather than feeling wonderfully mysterious, these unexplained visions felt just unrealistic.

Charlie finds Gabi (Wood), the man’s daughter, and promptly falls in love with her, only to discover she’s already involved with a very ruthless and dangerous man. Despite their doomed relationship, Charlie frantically seeks out Gabi while attempting to sidestep her brutal, gangster husband, Nigel (Mikkelsen).

The narrative voice-overs throughout the movie are feeble attempts to make up for an underdeveloped plotline and dull dialogue. The efforts for romance are utterly thwarted by all of the random confusion and unexplained situations. The writers and director obviously worked hard to include passionate scenes, but the whys are mostly left unanswered.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment was Rupert Grint’s character, Carl, Charlie’s new hostel friend whose ambition is to become a porn star. Grint is a funny actor, so why he wasn’t given any funny lines is a complete mystery. He is entirely wasted on unimaginative scenes and mute dialogue.

The movie’s only saving grace is LeBeouf’s stellar performance, particularly considering what little he had to work with. He is able to bring enough emotion and passion into his part it almost makes up for what is otherwise a waste of time. Almost.

The last scene of the movie, while clearly attempting to be romantic and poetic, ends up overdramatic and so cryptic that the audience actually asked Bond for clarification during the Q&A session following the movie, which Bond was unable to provide.


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  1. One Response to “Review: More like the unnecessary death of a good cast in a bad movie”

  2. By Max P on Jan 28, 2013

    How did he “inadvertently” confess the movie was bad? By saying nothing?

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