Movie Review: A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

Charlie SheenDirected by: Roman Coppola

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray

Plot: After a bad break-up, Charles Sawn III, a graphic artist, re-evaluates his life.


What a surprise! Charlie Sheen acts! After spending so much time on the Channel of Bad Sitcoms (and moving to FX to do more of the same, sadly), I thought maybe he had forgotten. I certainly had. And after that crazy drug fueled rage-athon, I thought he had dug himself a hole that he would never be able to crawl out of. I was certainly expecting more of the same. Not that he gives some Earth-shattering performance, but he seems more natural and comfortable in front of the camera than he has in years. It is probably because his character is a lot like himself (an aging womanizer looking for some solid ground), but I like to think that he isn’t anticipating the canned laughter. He is just in the moment letting the beats come to him instead of trying to hit the beats of his over-written tv shows.

Sheen’s Charles Swan is essentially a rockstar version of Don Draper from Mad Men. He drinks. He smokes. He sleeps around. And somewhere between all of that, he finds the time to somehow be a genius marketing graphic artist. His greatest strength is his over-active imagination, one that occasionally blurs the line between reality and imagination. These adventures into the absurd are a lot of fun for the audience. They are basically these daydreams that cast Charles Swan as public enemy #1 to a sisterhood against shitty boyfriends (led by a very hot Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

Charlie Sheen

Swan and his buddies during one of his daydreams

Back in the real world, he is surrounded by his friends and family who try to anchor him in reality, but tend to add fuel to the fire. There is his sister (played by Patricia Arquette) a single mother who is the opposite of Charles. She is worrisome and lacks the creative depth of her brother. Despite being opposites, they have great chemistry. He also has his 2 buddies who tend to make matter worse. There is his close buddy, Kirby Starr (Jason Schwartzman). He is a comedian who goes to Charles for his comedy album cover art and uses deadpan humor and sarcasm to shock Charles out of his funk. There is also his manager, Saul (Bill Murray). He is in an equal lost-love-funk as Charles. Bill Murray does exactly what we have come to expect from Bill Murray. He spends very little screentime being hilarious and amazing as well as making everyone else around him better by extension.

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III definitely feels like a Wes Anderson movie. That should come as no surprise, as Coppola and Anderson have worked together in the past. They clearly have a similar sense of humor and visual style. The movie is absurd but I wouldn’t call it as stylized as Anderson’s movies have been. It is essentially a first time director paying homage to Wes Anderson while trying to find his own voice.

Rating: 8/10

If you liked this, check out: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Science of Sleep