Monday, 13 September 2010
FILM REVIEW: CHARLIE ST. CLOUD
In Charlie St Cloud, the eponymous hero (Zac Efron) sees dead people. But the film is no Sixth Sense and despite writing off a car early on in the film, Efron is no Haley Joel Osment. That car accident kills Charlie's younger brother and briefly claims his life, too, before he is successfully defibrillated by a crazy-eyed paramedic (Ray Liotta).
Jump to five years later and his brush with death has enabled Charlie to see and commune with the dead, most notably said younger brother whom he meets every afternoon in the woods to practise his baseball. It's a promise he has vowed to keep but one which has virtually sealed him off from the rest of the world. Most of the seaside townsfolk suspect the accident has rendered the young man crazy; talking to himself an obvious symptom and working (and living) at the local cemetery simply dotting the i in 'insane'.
But then Tess (Amanda Crew), about to embark on a round-the-world solo sailing expedition, and curiously drawn to her former classmate and sailing rival, begins a romance with Charlie – or does she?
Adapted from the novel The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud, by Ben Sherwood, this is a drama with supernatural overtones but which chooses to dwell in the sentimental end of the genre's pool, more closely resembling an extended episode of TV's The Ghost Whisperer rather than M. Night Shyamalan's breakthrough (and still, for mine, best) film, The Sixth Sense.
Zac Efron continues to attempt a move away from his teen heartthrob status for which he should be given credit although Charlie St. Cloud is very much a “chick flick” targeted at his young female fan base. Still, that demographic, not to mention the film's producers, may feel a little shortchanged with the lack of flesh on show, no doubt feeling a film set largely on and near the ocean would have called for a lot more bare chested acting by Efron.
But make no mistake, Charlie St. Cloud's leading man will have the ladies reaching for their tissues if only to dab their eyes.