By Don Simpson | January 20, 2014
Director: Fredrik Bond
Writer: Matt Drake
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Ion Caramitru, Vincent D’Onofrio, Melissa Leo, John Hurt, Andrei Finti, Vanessa Kirby, Gabriel Spahiu, Bogdan Farkas, Florin Piersic Jr., Adrian Nicolae, Claudiu Trandafir, Emilian Marnea, Corneliu Ulici
The death of his mother (Melissa Leo) serves as the catalyst for Charlie’s (Shia LaBeouf) psychological trip-out which eventually catapults him to Bucharest. Lost in more ways than one, fate instantly introduces Charlie to a moody Romanian cellist, Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). It is love at first sight for Charlie, but his infatuation with Gabi ends up entangling him into a dangerous web of criminals.
While not stalking Gabi or being threatened by bad guys, Charlie tries to get as much rest as the hostel-cum-rave that he calls home allows. As we all know, what happens in Romania stays in Romania. Charlie’s entire trip is a blur thanks in no small part to his seemingly steady diet of drugs and booze. He wanders around the woozy nightmare of Bucharest in a zombified daze, confused about why his mother told him to visit Bucharest.
By no means a flattering portrait of Romania, Charlie Countryman relies way too heavily upon the standard Eastern European stereotypes perpetuated by Hollywood action flicks. Lazy stereotypes aside, Fredrik Bond takes a tried and true genre film and transforms it into a total and complete mindfuck. Bond goes to such extremes in blurring the lines between reality, fiction, fantasy and nightmare that he turns Charlie Countryman into a giant blob of nonsensical mush.
Playing mere shells of their pawn-like characters, Shia LaBeouf channels his best Keanu Reeves while Evan Rachel Wood tries her hand at Kristen Stewart soullessness. The unadulterated absurdity of both of these lead performances is ridiculously (albeit accidentally) hilarious. Just one look at that blu-ray cover image of LaBeouf running and I just cannot stop giggling…