Movie Review: 'A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III' -- 3 stars
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III
Directed by Roman Coppola
Starring Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Katheryn Winnick
Sweet and whimsical aren't exactly the first words that come to mind when you think of Charlie Sheen. But they're apt descriptors for the former #winning warlock's first lead role in a movie since his pre-"meltdown" era.
"A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III," written and directed by Roman Coppola, recasts its star's bad boy image, transforming the destructive womanizer archetype into something more heartfelt. Asking the audience to sympathize with Sheen as a lonely, lovelorn fool is an audacious move, but the filmmaker and his star pull it off.
Set in '70s-era Southern California, the movie follows the imaginative exploits of its title character (Sheen), who embarks on a journey of morose self-discovery into his own mind after girlfriend Ivana (Katheryn Winnick) dumps him.
Charles is a graphic designer with a hyperactive imagination and a propensity for "rescue" fantasies. The movie takes us on repeated trips into the character's subconscious as he imagines fending off scantily clad woman in Native American garb, evading a female hit squad and saving Ivana from a dastardly Nazi, among other flights of fancy.
Coppola, Francis Ford's son, utilizes a nonlinear approach to fully depict his protagonist's state of being. Fantasies give way to contemporary scenes of Charles grappling with depression and wistful flashbacks that uncover the ups and downs of his relationship with Ivana. Sheen plays the part with a tangible melancholic spirit that is frankly a surprise coming from the man who once boasted of veins full of tiger blood.
On the surface, "Charles Swan" feels like lighthearted combo of "Being John Malkovich" and a Wes Anderson movie, complete with the former's comic surrealism and the latter's storybook-like compositions and affinity for slow motion. But this portrait of a man taking stock of his failures in life and love is its own unique beast. It's attuned to the way the past collides with the present and the real congeals with the imagined inside that mixed-up, confusing place we call the mind.