Despite his recent issues, there is no arguing that Shia LeBeouf has had an amazing career through the years starring in two blockbuster franchises with Transformers and Indiana Jones. Lately he seems to be focusing on more independent smaller films like his latest Charlie Countryman. The film sports an impressive cast including Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Melissa Leo alongside LeBeouf, but does it have the story to back it up?
Charlie Countryman follows a young man whose late mother appears to him in a vision, telling him to go to Bucharest. But when he meets a fellow passenger, it leads him to meet a young woman whom he falls head over heels in love with, but a vicious gangster has already laid claim to her and has no intention of letting her go. Determined to protect her, Charlie enters into the hallucinatory, Romanian underworld filled with violence and, strangely enough, love. The first half of this movie is pretty slow and seems a bit all over the place. The performances are all great, but don’t help much in the mess of the storytelling. Thankfully about halfway through it tries to get some focus and become a strange, yet intriguing love story with a thriller twist. Despite the strange fantasy style elements the film managed to tell a pretty intriguing story. The cast all bring something unique to their roles to help them to stand out a bit more than just random characters, but never so much that makes them over the top. LeBeouf is really a great gets a chance to really showcase a wide range of emotions in this film easily delivering one of his best performances to date. While the story moves well enough in an interesting direction once things get going it still never really finds a definitive direction. As it makes its way to the climax and begins to pick up the ending of the film takes some turns that are cohesive to where it was trying to get to despite some bumps in the road.
This is one of those films that plays a bit artsy during the first half and will likely lose some viewers, but once it gets over itself it manages to deliver a decent dangerous love triangle. LeBeouf has had his troubles, but has done a successful job in shedding his child actor persona with roles like this and there is no denying he has talent, but sadly most may not give him the chance and will be missing out on an interesting film and a great performance.