A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III (2013)

Posted: May 2, 2013 in Movies


If you’ve had the chance to see any of writer/director Roman Coppola’s body of work, you know that his films are a bit off the beaten path. If you’ve caught the brilliance of such films as The Darjeeling Limited or Moonrise Kingdom, you also realize why he is one of Hollywood’s great directing commodities.

While many simply attribute Roman’s success to his bloodline (more directly, his father Francis Ford Coppola), he has carved his niche among the independent movie scene with beautiful cinematography, quirky character development, and a certain “way” of doing things that is refreshing, unique, and almost anti-Hollywood.

His latest endeavor is no exception. A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III tells the story of a graphic designer (Charlie Sheen) in the late 1970s who is having a pretty rotten day. An attempt to rid himself of the last memories of a lost girlfriend lead to a near-death experience, which opens up his mind to all types of strange decisions and bizarre flashbacks. Such incidents in life usually bring on changes for the better, but for Charles Swan III there is one major problem to his recovery.

He is a complete asshole.

His good looks and carefree lifestyle seem to be what matters most to him, and the movie beautifully shows his life on the decline. The loss of his girlfriend kickstarts a downward spiral of panic and tragedy, as he alienates his best friend (Jason Schwartzman), his family, and his accountant (Bill Murray) – all the while imagining his actions are heroic and grand.

There is a noticeable parallel between Charles Swan’s fictitious fall from grace and the real-life disaster that followed Charlie Sheen around the better part of this decade, but it somehow made the film more heartfelt. Where Sheen’s tabloid antics had him in full rage mode, the character he plays here is far more refined and collected – which gives the film a healthy dose of charm as it explores the human nature of everyone within.

There were sequences in the film that dove into Swan’s mind and entered fantasy worlds of action hero sequences and Broadway song and dance. Ffor many this may disconnect the film from its main story line and become a distraction. For me, though, the result was just magical. As a graphic designer and writer, my mind is constantly going back and forth to impossible places  – and I felt like Copalla captured that aspect of the human imagination perfectly.

The film is admittedly not for everyone (the wife hated it), but if you liked any of Coppola’s previous films, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Rated R. 86 minutes.

Available on DVD/BluRay May 14th.



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