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'Maybe you have some kind of fantasy about helping a woman n a faraway land.'
Director Fredrik Bond and writer Matt Drake are new to the game of cinema and it shows – in ways both good and not so good. The original title of this little adventure in Bucharest was THE NECESSARY DEATH OF CHARLIE COUNTRYMAN: they should have stuck with that.
Charlie (Shi LaBeouf) is a scruffy sad e-eyed lad who at his mother's (Melissa Leo) deathbed with her current paramour Bill (Vincent D'Onofrio – in only a few minutes of inconsequential screen time): mother dies, but appears in a vision extracting a promise for Charlie to go to Bucharest to mend his grief. Charlie hops on a plane, sits next to an old Romanian Victor (Ion Caramitru) with whom he bonds before Victor dies in flight: another vision – Victor asks Charlie to deliver a silly hat to his daughter Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood) in Bucharest. Once Charlie is in Bucharest, having survived airport investigation, he gets conflicting data from a taxi driver (Gabriel Spahiu) and is delivered to a youth hostel where he shares a room with tow losers – Karl (Rupert Grint) and Luc (James Buckley) – who introduce him to Ecstasy. Charlie is already on the bad side of the crime world for wanting to deliver Victor's gift to Gabi and is at the mercy of Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen) and Darko (Til Schweiger) who are covering up some criminal problem. Charlie meets Gabi, a cellist with the Bucharest Opera who happens to be married to Nigel, and of course he falls in love beginning an endless chase sequence by the mob that involves Gabi, Nigel, Darko and assorted thugs. The ending is in the original title .maybe .
A great movie this is not, but its twisted plot, incorporation of visions from the dead, and brisk action captured in a very strange but exciting light by cinematographer Roman Vasyanov and a strange atmospheric musical score by Christophe Beck keep the movie intriguing. And it is tough to cast Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Melissa Leo, and yes, Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood and not expect to see some moments of excellent acting. As an evening's diversion, given the fact that it is the initial outing by both director and writer, it is worth watching.
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