Charlie Countryman

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Charlie Countryman
Charlie Countryman (2013).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFredrik Bond
Produced byAlbert Berger
Ron Yerxa
Craig J. Flores
William Horberg
Written byMatt Drake
StarringShia LaBeouf
Evan Rachel Wood
Mads Mikkelsen
Rupert Grint
Vincent D'Onofrio
Melissa Leo
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyRoman Vasyanov
Edited byHughes Winborne
Voltage Pictures
Picture Perfect Corporation
Bona Fide Production
Distributed byMillennium Entertainment
Release date
  • January 21, 2013 (2013-01-21) (Sundance)
  • November 15, 2013 (2013-11-15) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$424,404[2]

Charlie Countryman (originally titled The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman) is a 2013 American-Romanian romantic drama film directed by Fredrik Bond in his directorial debut, written by Matt Drake, and starring Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood and Mads Mikkelsen.

The film premiered on January 21, 2013 at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was screened in competition at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.[3] The film was released November 15, 2013 in the United States[4] was released on October 31, 2014 in the United Kingdom.[5]


Charlie Countryman, a man living in Chicago, is distraught after the death of his mother Kate. At the hospital, he sees her as a spirit and asks her what he should do with his life. She replies by telling him to go to Bucharest because she believes it seems right to do. On the flight, he meets Victor, an elderly man sitting next to him, who is returning home to Bucharest after seeing a Cubbies game, with a silly hat as a gift for his daughter. Partway through the plane ride, Victor dies, and Charlie sees him too as a spirit, who asks him to deliver his gift to his daughter, which he promises to do.

Arriving at the airport, he is hassled over the hat by the authorities, but eventually meets Victor's daughter, Gabi, whom he falls instantly in love with. After he gives her Victor's gift, they part. While in a taxi, he finds Gabi in her car on the side of the road. She tells him she can't keep up with the ambulance containing her father's body, and he offers to help catch up to them. While engrossed in playful banter they collide with the speeding ambulance truck, crashing and flipping over, with Victor's body flying out of it. Gabi and Victor's body are taken to the hospital by another ambulance, leaving her car with Charlie.

Gabi's car does not start immediately and Charlie is unable to follow the ambulance. After neighborhood kids help jump start the car Charlie decides to take the car to the Bucharest opera house where Gabi performs as a cellist. In the car Charlie finds a revolver in Gabi's purse, inscribed 'For my darling Gabi, Love forever Nigel'. Gabi soon calls her cell phone and instructs Charlie to look for a man name Bela. Bela puts Charlie in an empty opera box. Charlie falls asleep and wakes up to an opera performance. He also sees Gabi emotionally playing her cello in the orchestra pit. Following the performance, Gabi is confronted by her estranged and unstable husband, Nigel. Gabi suddenly spots Charlie walking by, and Nigel notices and questions him aggressively. Gabi lies that Charlie is a gay tuba player, after which Nigel leaves.

Charlie arrives at a hostel and meets his roommates, Karl and Luc. After partying for a while, Charlie enters the bathroom and encounters Nigel, who was waiting inside to apologize for his earlier behavior and mildly threatens Charlie. After departing, Charlie then sees Gabi leaving the hostel after dropping off his belongings left in her car. They spend the night out, sharing fond memories of each others' parents. Later, they part ways, Gabi telling him that, if he finds her the next day, she will kiss him. Exhilarated, Charlie begins running down the street and is suddenly hit by a cab. The cab driver takes him to the hospital.

Hours later, back at the hostel, Charlie wakes up to find out that Karl has taken too much Viagra, and they go to a club seeking to ease Karl's discomfort. When the aroused Karl has a sexual climax in front of the strippers, they call the bouncers to have the offending guests taken to the manager's office. The trio are shocked to find that Karl's transgression has caused the manager, Darko, to overcharge them deliberately. Darko notices that Charlie is staring nervously at a picture of Nigel and Gabi on the wall, and aggressively questions Charlie about Nigel. Charlie offers Darko the deal that, in exchange for providing information on Nigel, they need not pay the bill. Darko gives Charlie his phone number and the guests leave. Realizing that it's morning, Charlie goes to the Bucharest opera house in the hopes of seeing Gabi.

Later on that evening Bela notices Charlie sleeping on the opera house steps and wakes him up. After being begged, Bela reluctantly takes Charlie to Gabi's house, were a memorial party is being held for Victor. Gabi takes Charlie to the attic to kiss him. Charlie tells Gabi about his encounter with Darko. Later on, Nigel unexpectedly shows up. He spots Charlie and while holding a piece of broken glass to his neck, aggressively confronts him on not being a gay tuba player and being attracted to Gabi all along. Gabi forces Nigel to leave by firing a warning shot at him. After the party, Gabi tells Charlie how she met Nigel. Although Gabi loved Nigel it was a mistake marrying him. Gabi realized too late that Nigel was an active criminal. At some point Victor found an incriminating tape to use against Nigel to force him to leave the country. It worked until Victor's death; now Nigel wants the tape. Charlie then confesses that he is in love with Gabi, and they make love.

The next morning, Charlie finds Gabi gone and a note telling him to not leave the house. Charlie explores the house and discovers a room filled with tapes, specifically one that's labeled "Cubbies". The tape turns out to be the blackmail footage Victor found. It shows Nigel and Darko killing a group of people at a restaurant. A disturbed Charlie leaves the house and finds Gabi and Nigel at a nearby restaurant. He approaches them and explains that he "saw the tape." Nigel violently interrogates Charlie until the police arrive and take Charlie away. At the station Bela bribes the police to not press charges but instead take Charlie to Budapest. Upon arrival at the hostel to get his belongings, he is alerted by the presence of Nigel's associates. They chase Charlie to a subway, where he escapes and runs back to Gabi's home to find the tape missing. He finds Darko and his men waiting for him, showing Karl and Luc's backs glued together outside. Gabi calls Darko regarding the tape, prompting Darko to leave the house.

Charlie waits for Gabi at the Opera House, where she tells him that she doesn't want to see him again and says goodbye. She goes to her car with Nigel, who has the tape and intends to destroy it so that life with Gabi can continue. A saddened Charlie once again speaks to the ghost of his mother, who says that she is proud of him and hopes he doesn't die. After she disappears, he runs to Gabi's car and attempts to stop Nigel, only to be knocked unconscious. He wakes, hanging from a rope by his ankle above a boat dock. Nigel burns the tape and prepares to shoot Charlie, but decides to let Gabi do it. She ends up sparing Charlie just as the cops arrive. Charlie is dropped into the lake and survives, and Nigel commits suicide by cop. The film ends with Karl and Luc finally being separated from the super glue, and Charlie and Gabi finally together.


John Hurt was a brief narrator for the film's original version released at Sundance, but his narration was edited out and is included on its Blu-ray release as an extra.


In early development, LaBeouf dropped out of the project and the title role was briefly given to Zac Efron before LaBeouf returned to the project in August 2010.

Filming took place between May and June 2012 and filmed on location in Romania.

LaBeouf reportedly tripped on acid while filming acid scenes. According to LaBeouf, he had to trip on the acid to really get into the head of his character and to emulate some of his acting heroes. "There's a way to do an acid trip like Harold & Kumar and there's a way to be on acid. What I know of acting, Sean Penn actually strapped up to that electric chair in Dead Man Walking. These are the guys that I look up to."[6]


Wood criticised[7][8] the American censors[9] for insisting that a scene be cut in which her character receives oral sex from LaBeouf, while taking no issue with the many violent scenes:[10]

"The scene where the two main characters make 'love' was altered because someone felt that seeing a man give a woman oral sex[11][12][13] made people 'uncomfortable', but the scenes in which people are murdered by having their heads blown off remained intact and unaltered... [Society] wants to shame women and put them down for enjoying sex, especially when (gasp) the man isn't getting off as well... Accept that women are sexual beings, accept that some men like pleasuring women. Accept that women don't just have to be fucked and say thank you. We are allowed and entitled to enjoy ourselves. It's time we put our foot down."[14]


The official soundtrack album was released digitally on Feb 11, 2014, by Psychedelic Records. The soundtrack album featured 14 songs of score music composed by Christophe Beck and Deadmono.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Charlie Countryman" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 2:07
2. "What Makes a Life" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 2:09
3. "Stealing the Funny Hat" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 2:11
4. "I Promise" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 2:18
5. "Victor Ibanescu" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 1:23
6. "Bucharest Taxi Ride" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 2:22
7. "Puppy Feet Girl" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 2:02
8. "Nigel" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 1:51
9. "Walking with Gabi" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 3:48
10. "Find Me Tomorrow" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 3:20
11. "Gabi's Story" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 2:18
12. "Videotape" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 3:28
13. "The Pearl and the Oyster" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 4:38
14. "The End" Christophe Beck and Deadmono 6:24


Charlie Countryman received negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 29% of 63 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 4.1/10; the site's consensus reads: "Shia LaBeouf clearly relishes his role in Charlie Countryman, but his efforts can't salvage the movie's shallow script and overstuffed direction."[15] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized score, rated it 31/100 based on 20 reviews.[16]

John Anderson of Variety called it "a profoundly unnecessary film" with "strained attempts at magic realism".[17] Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter describe it as "an atmospheric feature that sets out to tackle big questions of love and destiny."[18] Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote, "this catastrophe of a movie zigzags drunkenly between action-adventure and surreal comedy with some magical realism slopped over it like ketchup."[19] Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Pulpy dross of surpassing dumbness, Charlie Countryman takes the blender approach to mixing dark adventure, doofus comedy and pie-eyed romance, but forgets to put the lid on when pulsed."[20] Damon Wise of Empire gave a positive review, stating "Bond's use of music is excellent and his vision of eastern Europe both hellish and magical." [21]


  1. ^ "THE NECESSARY DEATH OF CHARLIE COUNTRYMAN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  2. ^ "Charlie Countryman (2013) - International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. September 14, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  3. ^ "Berlinale Competition 2013: Another Nine Films Confirmed". berlinale. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Mandell, Andrea (August 27, 2012). "Shia LaBeouf gets a little 'Lawless' in indie movies". USA Today. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ The Big Issue no.1080, December 2nd-8th 2013.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Denham, Jess (November 28, 2013). "Evan Rachel Wood attacks ratings body for cutting cunnilingus scene from new film". The Independent. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "Charlie Countryman (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Charlie Countryman". Metacritic. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  17. ^ Anderson, John (January 22, 2013). "Review: 'The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman'". Variety. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  18. ^ Lowe, Justin (January 22, 2013). "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman: Sundance Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  19. ^ Holden, Stephen (November 14, 2013). "Bad Deathbed Advice, Indeed". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  20. ^ Abele, Robert (November 14, 2013). "Review: 'Charlie Countryman' leaves you dizzy and disoriented". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  21. ^ Wise, Damon (January 23, 2013). "Sundance 2013: The Round Up Part One". Empire Magazine. Retrieved May 22, 2014.

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