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DVD Review

DVD cover

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III


Starring: Charlie Sheen, Katheryn Winnick, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Patricia Arquette
Distributor: Koch Media
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 30 September 2013

Charlie Swan’s life is left in turmoil, when his girlfriend leaves him. Not unreasonably she objected to him keeping nude photographs of his ex-girlfriends around the home. Distracted by the thought that she has left he fails to complete an album cover for a friend, potentially losing the account. As his life spirals out of control Charlie retreats into a fantasy world...

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charlie Swan III (2012 - 1 hr, 22 min, 04 sec) is a surreal comedy written and directed by Roman Coppola.

The film stars Charlie Sheen, pretty much playing Charlie Sheen, or at least his public persona. The story opens with Charlie talking to a psychiatrist as we see the contents of his brain in a sub Gillian sequence.

The film is set in seventies LA and the design of the film is a testament to the fact that this was an era that good taste forgot. Charlie makes his money as a graphic designer, but his use of drink and drugs has taken its toll on the firm’s success, even his friend and musician Kirby is starting to lose patience as the promised album cover never seems to materialise. All the while Charlie walks through life thinking about sex.

It’s no great revelation that most men spend their time thinking about sex. Before female emancipation men ran the world; we even got to name everything, Sussex, named by a man, Wessex also, although Middlesex was probably named by a hermaphrodite, everything else was named by the Romans or after cheese, although I’m at a loss to know the significance, it’s a mystery lost in time. So, a film based on one man’s baser instincts really should have something more to say.

If you were being kind you would say that it is a film which charts Charlie’s redemption, except his heartfelt dialogue with his ex sounds hollow and he doesn’t appear to have learned anything or changed one iota by the film close.

The cinematography of Nick Beal brings a nice sheen to the project, but the film lacks the wit of Terry Gilliam or the warmth of a Billy Liar.

The main problem is that Swann is quite a dislikable character, misogynistic and shallow and his daydreams reflect his personality. The one person who appears to be trying to inject the project with life is Jason Schwartzman (Kirby). Bill Murray (Saul) is a favourite actor of mine, so I’m not really sure what he is doing in the film, as his whole character could have been written out without being noticed.

The film has been justifiably compared to the work of Wes Anderson, but where The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) was a magnificent comic creation Swan is almost a series of events, like the writer had a whole bunch of good ideas which he strung together, but this does not equate to a worthwhile plot.

The film contains no extras, but does have audio options for wither 2.0 stereo or 5.1 surround, although to be honest either is serviceable.


Charles Packer

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