Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, Til Schweiger, Vincent D’Onofrio, Melissa Leo
Directed by: Frederick Bond
Synopsis: While travelling abroad, a guy falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in her violent, charismatic ex.
Hmm, what a strange film this is. I enjoyed it more than most reviewers I think, and certainly more than I thought I would. But it still felt kind of jumbled like a load of music videos stitched together to make one whole. In places it worked well, with some scenes and their accompanying dance music soundtrack giving the film a real stylistic flair. It is understandable when you realise that the director Fredrik Bond directed Moby’s videos.
Charlie’s mother dies and then mysteriously ‘visits’ him and bizarrely tells him he should go to Bucharest in Romania. For some reason he just does although no one is sure why. In fact, a running joke throughout the film is that he should have gone to Budapest in Hungary instead. Whilst on the plane ride, he meets a local guy who he befriends for about ten minutes before he too dies. Charlie promises to pass on a gift to the guys daughter at the airport. The daughter (played by Evan Rachel Wood) and Charlie strike up a bond, but her ex (Mads Mikkelsen) has other ideas. Then Charlie gets in too deep with people he shouldn’t.
For someone who has only ever shot some videos for Moby, Bond certainly managed to draw up a pretty impressive cast for what is essentially a fairly average film. John Hurt narrates, Mikkelsen and Schweiger are suitably intimidating as the bad guys. You have a random appearance of Ron Weasly and Jay from the Inbetweeners half way through to offer a comic element which the film may need slightly, but isn’t entirely successful.
Despite most people despising LaBoeuf for whatever reason, I thought he was decent enough in this, along with Wood. I just don’t know what the film was about. Some films are just about a guy battling off evil forces to win the love of his girl, but this seemed to indicate that there was more about it than that, without actually making clear what it was. Maybe I’m too dumb to understand the subtext or something?
To summarise, I was happy enough watching this movie. It entertained me and I was never bored. Sure it could have been better in places, and was definitely style over substance a lot of the time. And it was definitely as much music video as movie, but you could do worse than check this out.