For all of you not into all the Christmas stuff, I’m going to be continuing on with the Netflix A-Z. The most optimal thing would be to wrap it up before the end of the year but that sounds pretty much impossible. What I will do now is to do two Netflix A-Z starting with this one. I know its been a while so for those who don’t know, we’re doing an independent film take and if you don’t have the movie on your Netflix, its probably because I’m on the Netflix Canada and the selection may change depending where you are.
With that said, the next selection is Kill Charlie Countryman. Honestly, I don’t know why I picked it. I’m not a particularly huge fan of Shia Labeouf. But then, I’m changing my strategy to picking these movies and really trying to just take movies off My List of Netflix movies and not the entire Netflix library (because that is kind of crazy).
Let’s check it out!
Kill Charlie Countryman (2013)
Director: Fredrik Bond
Cast: Shia Labeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, James Buckley
While traveling abroad, a guy falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in her violent, charismatic ex. – IMDB
Kill Charlie Countryman is one of those movies that seem to have the potential to do much better than it actually did. I spent a few days thinking about why I felt that way. For one, other than Shia Labeouf who I found mildly entertaining in Transformers, there hasn’t been much that I like of his, but I have liked a lot of Evan Rachel Wood’s performances and of course, Mads Mikkelsen. Maybe that is why I chose to watch this one, especially after the Playstation Experience peak at Kojima’s new game Death Stranding and the very creepy character that Mads Mikkelsen plays as, especially when its just one shot. Kill Charlie Countryman’s plot is a little odd and its a little hard to believe what is going on. It feels like he wants to have some odd humor there and yet Shia Labeouf rarely delivers it. At the same time, its hard to believe what the love his character Charlie actually has for this girl that he knows nothing about. It jumps from one spot to the next and the story doesn’t seem to flow well, especially when injecting the somewhat silly comic relief with Karl and Luc, played by Rupert Grint and James Buckley respectively.
Kill Charlie Countryman is all about the trouble that Charlie, played by Shia Labeouf gets into when he goes to Bucharest as his dead mom’s spirit (or something) tells him to, encouraging to go have some adventure and take risks. This turns out to be a great adventure indeed when his trip starts off with a dead passenger that he has befriended. This man is odd and his body/spirit also tells him to go carry out his last wish of bringing his souvenir to his daughter Gabi, played by Evan Rachel Wood. However, there is a odd feeling of why Charlie has these visions except to realize that it somehow vanishes and goes somewhat unexplained. I’m not sure whether an explanation would do the story any good or make it any different but the fact that its about Charlie who makes all these really unbelievable decisions from taking this lady’s car and cello and bringing it to the Opera House in the beginning or suddenly acting like (tries to) he has fallen deep in love with Gabi even before really knowing too much. Right from the get go, we already know she has the mafia boyfriend and this launches into a much more serious ordeal when there is a even bigger secret that looms in the background and makes him into a target, involving people that he also only just met. Its an odd trip. While I do criticize that Shia Labeouf is not the best person to take on the role. He also delivers one of the better performances that I’ve seen (for the most part). The only part that I cannot connect with is the romantic bits because it just isn’t a connection that the movie does a good job at portraying.
I believe some of the better scenes in this movie was the interaction with Mads Mikkelsen and in general the bad guys. They delivered the threat and fear. While I didn’t care much for any of these characters, Mads Mikkelsen has a very bad guy front that he does well. There is something incredibly menacing at times and then creepy at others. His expressions can just get under my skin. For that, while its hard to imagine that he does some of what he does because he is possessive and crazy in love over Gabi, his character Nigel is undeniably one of the stronger elements of this story and all the interactions whether it is him with Gabi or him with Charlie all made for the more entertaining bits to watch.
Sadly, one of the more disposable characters in the story seems to be Gabi. While she plays a stronger female role especially after having to deal with all of Nigel’s ordeals, the character of Gabi doesn’t have any substance. She is supposed to be the love interest to Charlie and there are moments you can sense the character being touched by Charlie’s actions and yet, she still makes odd decisions regarding Nigel. There seems to be more to the character that was cut out in the final edit that doesn’t have a complete image of who she is and what she knows. While Evan Rachel Wood has to put on a Romanian (I think) accent as well. I can’t say how accurate it is but somehow it doesn’t feel all that natural.
Like mentioned before, the comic reliefs here are Karl and Luc, played by Rupert Grint and James Buckley. These guys are the strange acquaintances that Charlie meets at the hostel where he decided to rent a room. These two guys are strange, with not a huge perception of anything except for the fact that they take drugs and make bad decisions. Its the spitting image of people taking things to the absolute limit and then realizing that they are stuck in a ditch and in trouble and then getting scared and not knowing how to react. Between all this, there is some fun. Its hard to determine whether I’m laughing at them or its meant to be funny. They never get a key part but somehow pop in in the middle to create trouble that leads Shia Labeouf to learn more about Gabi. It all seems very deliberate and not natural enough.
Kill Charlie Countryman falls short in many ways. It has mostly a cast that can deliver great performances but the script seems to not piece it well enough together. There are some fun moments and other entertaining and engaging bits but its never enough to make this film memorable. In fact, I closed this film feeling rather indifferent. Its these one that are the hardest to word how I feel because I don’t care much about it and don’t intend on watching it again and yet, I can’t exactly pinpoint what I thought was all that wrong. Perhaps it was the choppiness in plot, or how I couldn’t buy into Gabi and Charlie’s love or maybe that some of the flow and consequences seemed too deliberate to make something else happen. Whatever it is, Kill Charlie Countryman is a lackluster film and one I probably won’t go back to watch.
Next up is L selection. Any guesses?