Charlie Countryman ★★★★

You know why I like Shia? He tries. He goes out there and gives it his all every time. He takes things very seriously. He takes interesting/different roles, films that lead him further away from the commercial start he got on Transformers. The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman is another film in that lineage. A bizarro story about death, ghosts, and free spirits, set in Bucharest apparently be accident.

It's not that Charlie Countryman is all that ground-breaking. I've seen films that are very similar in nature, and this film especially takes some easy beats to tell it's story. But what it does do, something that's not always seen in the world of artsy films, is tell a compelling story. One that's easy to follow, really, simply black and white. It's got romance, comedy, and action, but it wraps it up in this film that looks slightly different from other movies I've recently seen. It's unconventionally conventional. That makes this easy to watch film seem fresh.

Charlie Countryman looks great. The cinematographer, Roman Vasyanov, has since gone moved on to even better looking things like, Fury. It uses effects subtly when needed but mostly sticks to practical. Shia looks genuinely fried on screen, and I have to wonder how much credit of that should go to hair and makeup and how much of that is just how the actor is looking nowadays. Either way it works. Evan Rachel Wood does an okay accent and pulls of the hot foreign chick. Mads Mikkelsen is quiet and brilliant, something he's quite used to. All the characters are well put together and end up created a really memorable experience.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. After seeing it one and a half times, I'm definitely up for another full viewing. Not that I think I'll get that much more out of it the second (and a half) time, it's just that it's really entertaining. I wasn't expecting to like this film half as much as I did. Just another reason to keep watching whatever Shia LaBeouf does.