A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2012) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III follows the thoughts and life of successful 1970s graphic designer Charles Swan III (Charlie Sheen) just after his girlfriend, Ivanna (Katheryn Winnick), dumps him. Confused as to what his true feelings are for her, he explores his thoughts with his best friend Kirby Star (Jason Schwartzman) and manager Saul (Bill Murray). Reduced to delusions about himself, past relationships and his potential future alone, Charles struggles to make the necessary changes to get Ivanna back. But is he capable of change?

The title is a very accurate description of the film. Charles Swan slips in and out of dreamlike sequences similar to an episode of the 1990s HBO television series Dream On. It’s a ridiculous look at the mind of a man-child trying to grow up, but unsure if he wants to. I imagine Sheen felt right at home in this role, and in fact he is a perfect fit. Schwartzman and Murray look like the kind of guys that would hang out with Sheen, which makes their on-screen friendships realistic. The actors are about the only thing that works well in this over-directed flick.

Director and writer Roman Coppola proves yet again that the Coppola name means over-directed art house dribble. Clearly reaching to be the next Wes Anderson by not only using Anderson regulars Schwartzman and Murray, but also stealing Anderson’s fairly unique (in today’s world) way of story-telling and film-making. Unfortunately for Coppola Charles Swan is a meager attempt at aping Wes Anderson.

A boring story about a guy who just looks like a real a**hole doesn’t make us root for Swan. After the first act I see no redeeming qualities to the character, nor any reason why Ivanna would be with him in the first place. Ivanna’s reason for leaving Swan (he keeps a draw of pictures from his past relationships, and their pictures are also in that same drawer) is incredibly pointless and makes her look bad. It’s also the entire basis for the movie; is Swan holding onto his past too tightly? It’s Ivanna’s over reaction to something that by the end of the film Swan reveals he has no issue talking about calmly that makes this movie a useless trip down memory lane. Charlie and Ivanna are meant for each other, really, she’s a crazy bitch and he’s a womanizing bastard. It’s a match made in heaven.

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III would be better as just a glimpse, instead it’s an overbearing exploration of what Roman Coppola thinks is a deep look at relationships. At just under an hour and a half, it feels more like three. I’d skip this unless you’re a huge Wes Anderson fan.

Director: Roman Coppola
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Katheryn Winnick

One thought on “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2012) – Review

  • January 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    When I heard about this film, I expected it to be a lot more Wes Anderson-y. Unfortunately, after watching the trailer, I was very disappointed to see it far from the look and feel of the usual Wes and the vulgarity and over-the-top everything really turned me off from the film. What started as a must see has now turned into a “eh” maybe I’ll rent it. But after reading this review (the first one I’ve read about it, by the way… so kudos) I don’t think I’ll track it down.


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