Your basic requirements for liking this film as I did are a/You do not mind when movies change pitch a million times and occasionally confuse when doing so and b/you like Shia LaBoeuf. Still here? Then welcome to the odd world of Charlie Countryman.
At heart, The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman is a romance, a slow burn romance that thanks to the title of the movie and the opening (ending?) scenes of the film, you know will not end well, but it is a great journey while it lasts.
The simple story is of a guy who following the death of his mother goes to another country to find himself and instead finds love. And trouble. A lot of trouble. When a film’s villain is played by Mads Mikkelsen, you know you are in trouble and Charlie could not have found a worst enemy. Alas, the girl he falls for, played by the utterly beguiling Evan Rachel Wood, could not be more appealing and at no point do you think “Leave the girl! Leave alive!” She is THAT sort of girl, we have all had one, who if she said jump, you would find the highest point to prove your love to her.
The way the film strolls along and then sprints is similar to Gaspar Noe, especially Enter The Void, another film that spins along full of confusion. I cannot imagine anyone watching this and ‘kinda liking’ it, it is the sort of film you will either love or hate. No middle ground. Nice to see such a thing occasionally rather than the bland same old of many of today’s hits.
The only part of the movie that does not work for me is the inclusion of a couple of British stars for comedy effect, James Buckley from The Inbetweeners, playing that character from The Inbetweeners and Rupert Grint, swapping Hogwarts for trouble with 6 viagra and a visit to a strip club. Why these two characters are included I am not sure, if it is just to give Shia drugs on his arrival in a foreign country, then surely they could have just had him buy some off the street? Whatever.
Aside from these comedic sections, The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman is an interesting and emotional journey, that, provided you can deal with two hours of a Shia staring into space either through heartbreak or love, is a definite treat.