Movie review: “Charlie Countryman” a fun, if flawed, violent romance

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From the November 14, 2013 edition

“Charlie Countryman” has a flawed narrative and borrows so much stylistically from other movies it borders on ripoff. And I still kinda had a blast watching it.

It’s a stylish, violent love story complete with that age-old cliche: falling in love with a gangster’s wife.

Charlie (Shia LaBeouf) is an American who travels to Bucharest under the direction of a vision from his recently deceased mother (Melissa Leo). A series of chance events bring him in contact with a fetching musician (Evan Rachel Wood) with a dangerous husband (Mads Mikkelsen).

First-time director Frederik Bond is clearly busting out all his favorite cliches from both romance and crime films, but the combo works for me here, making for a slightly edgy date movie — at least edgier than my other recent date movie recommendation, “About Time.”

LaBeouf and Wood are both young actors I expect to one day blow us away with a performance. Though neither does so here, it’s an enjoyable pairing of young talent, and Mikkelsen and Til Schweiger are classic menacing Eurovillains.

Tossed into the mix are James Buckley (“The Inbetweeners”) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley of “Harry Potter”) as a drug-fueled pair of hostel-dwellers.

The whole thing is kind of a mess — especially the ending — but I had fun along the lines of Danny Boyle’s similarly flawed “A Life Less Ordinary.”

Photo courtesy of Millenium Entertainment