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article imageReview: ‘Charles Swan’ provides rare insight into the male consciousness Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Feb 17, 2013 in Entertainment
‘A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III’ is an uninhibited look at the deepest thoughts of a man after a devastating breakup.
During Charlie Sheen's "winning" extravaganza, people often wondered what was going on inside his head. Now, thanks to writer/director Roman Coppola, that question is answered to some extent. In A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, audiences are invited into the headspace of a playboy.
Charles Swan III (Sheen) skates through life on his fame, fortune and charm. But his happiness proves delicate when his true love, Ivana (Katheryn Winnick), suddenly ends their relationship. Without her in his life, Swan begins to unravel and swirls into a downward spiral. With the support of his loyal confidantes – Kirby (Jason Schwartzman), Saul (Bill Murray), and his sister, Izzy (Patricia Arquette) – Swan sets out on a road of doubt, confusion and reflection that will eventually lead to a self-awareness in which he can live alone.
This is a quirky little film that uses fantasy to deal with mature subjects. Swan’s devastation upon losing Ivana forces him to evaluate his life and grow up. However, his coping mechanisms are unconventional. He drifts into bizarre fantasies related to the issues he's confronting. For example, a health scare leads to a funeral sequence, and an open discussion with his best friend occurs on horseback in the Wild West.
The opening sequence is a literal examination of Swan’s neuroses. As he explains his recent experiences to a psychiatrist, his innermost thoughts (consisting mostly of scantily clad women) are visually displayed spilling out of his brain. This sets up the later absurdities revealed in the raw inner workings of the male psyche.
Though Swan is a fictional character, it's probably not a stretch to assume Sheen was portraying a version of himself. The dialogue is comparable to interviews the actor has done and Swan's lifestyle is a close match to Sheen's public persona. Schwartzman and Murray are the perfect companions, performing the same supportive functions in Charles' real and fantasy worlds.
Coppola's influence by friend and past collaborator Wes Anderson is evident in the vintage visual style and carefully written words. Though the transitions from real to imagined can be jarring, the picture remains cohesive because the discussions between scenes remain consistent.
On paper, it sounds like a mishmash of elements; but together it all works.
Director: Roman Coppola
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray
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