Charlie Countryman Review
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From Transformers to Indiana Jones, Shia LaBeouf has starred in his share of big-budget action movies. From time to time, he also stars in smaller independent films. But if he makes edgy films like Charlie Countryman in an attempt to earn some cred as a serious actor, he needs to keep trying.

In this scattered thriller, LaBeouf stars as Charlie, a troubled young man whose mother’s death—or, more accurately, his dead mother’s spirit—motivates him to move to Bucharest. On the flight, he befriends his seatmate, Victor (Ion Caramitru), who dies en route—and Victor’s spirit then implores Charlie to seek out his daughter, a beautiful cellist named Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood).

Charlie immediately falls in love with Gabi, only to discover that her estranged husband, Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen), is a ruthless—and very jealous—crime boss. Spending time with Gabi could get Charlie killed—but he just can’t stay away.

On the surface, there’s something about Charlie Countryman that seems different. It’s dark. It’s gritty. It takes place in Romania. And the story is driven by ghosts. Unfortunately, though, Charlie’s ability to talk to ghosts appears to be a fluke—because it only happens a couple of times at the beginning of the film. After that, well...there’s very little of interest.

Once the ghosts return to the spirit world, then, Charlie Countryman is really nothing special. Charlie is just another guy who falls madly in love with the wrong girl—and he ends up getting into some serious trouble because of it. It takes much too long for the action to build—and, instead of setting up a suspenseful story, the film wastes time on a bunch of unnecessary characters, like Charlie’s hard-partying roommates at the youth hostel. Rupert Grint’s Karl, for instance, is a character whose entire purpose seems to be to give the former Harry Potter star a chance to be shocking and edgy—to escape from the wizarding world and take a naughty role in a serious movie (though, sadly, he fails miserably).

We’ve seen movies just like Charlie Countryman again and again. We’ve seen them with interesting characters, solid storylines, and memorable performances. But Charlie Countryman has none of the above. It’s random and rambling. The characters are flat and clichéd. And LaBeouf’s performance is sometimes laughably bad. Had it stuck with the supernatural angle—to give the same old story an unusual twist—it might have been more interesting. Instead, it’s just another forgettable thriller.

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