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The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman

Year: 2014
Production Co: MediaPro Pictures
Director: Fredrik Bond
Writer: Matt Drake
Cast: Shia Lebeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Vincent D'Onofrio, Melissa Leo, John Hurt

The early talk about this movie was that it defies genres. Boiling it down as far as it'll go reveals a romance thriller, but there's indeed a lot more going on, including snatches of comedy and even ghost stories.

After saying goodbye to his mother (Melissa Leo) at her deathbed, Charlie Countryman (Shia Lebouf, looking weedier and greasier than we've ever seen him) sits in the hospital corridor with no idea what do to now she's gone. His mother duly turns up, sitting beside him and telling him, for some reason, to go to Bucharest.

So Charlie jumps on a plane, making friends with the middle aged man sitting beside him and listening to his stories about his daughter. But when the man dies midflight, Charlie seeks the daughter, Gabi (Wood, doing a passable but Hollywood-Eastern-European accent) out to give her his father's final message in broken Romanian.

With no plans or place to go in Bucharest (the running joke about him being there instead of Budapest pops up more than once), Charlie finds himself drawn to the beautiful young woman, who seems to like him too. But as he finds a home in a decrepit hostel with two drug-obsessed English blokes (Rupert Grint and The Inbetweeners' James Buckley), he has a hard time avoiding Gabi's violent ex, Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen).

As he and Gabi become more embroiled in the unlawful goings-on surrounding Gabi's ex, Charlie finds himself losing her to Nigel's magnetic and threatening pull, and his feelings drive him to fight for her no matter how dangerous it gets.

The plot is fairly all over the place, the narrative further muddied by a sense of style that almost overwhelms everything else. There are some nice ideas, but nothing too distinctive, and if you take away all the slick alt-indie ambience, it's be a thousand other boy meets girl stories.

And spare a thought for poor Rupert Grint. After choices like Wild Target, CBGB and Into The White, he hasn't had a single successful (or particularly good) movie post-Potter.

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