Roman Coppola Tackles Break-ups in “A Brief Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III”

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“A Brief Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” written and directed by Roman Coppola, is a break up story. Charlie Sheen, who stars in the title role of Charles Swan III, plays the exact same character he almost always does, the narcissistic, hard boozing creative type who inexplicably has scads of women hounding after him.

Predictably, he develops feelings for a young, attractive blonde named Ivana, played by Katheryn Winnick, who leaves him after she realizes he’s unable to let go of the glory of his former flings. The movie that follows is Charles’ struggle to pick himself back up after she’s gone, going through a series of fantasies that place the blame on her.

When I asked Roman Coppola why he chose to portray her as a villain, using heavy handed symbolism like a suspiciously nazi-esque armband and the outdated western stereotype of a “savage” Native American, he replied “when you’re going through a break up, you sort of fantasize to get through it. Charles is a graphic designer, an advertising guy. He lets his imagination run wild with it…But, there’s a tenderness to their relationship, they really like each other and I think that shows.”

Ivana’s side of the story is largely ignored until she apologizes to Charles, despite the fact of how their relationship ends but Coppola explained that “the story is Charles’ fantasy; he doesn’t take the blame”. Indeed, the fantasy aspect is perhaps one of the few selling points of this movie, aside from Patricia Arquette’s authentic turn as Charles’ sister, and Bill Murray’s role as Charles’ friend and frequent aid in these mental wanderings Charles takes.

The cinematography seems to borrow from Coppola’s earlier work on Wes Anderson movies, most recently “Moonrise Kingdom,” which he co-wrote. The vibrant colors and distinctive use of imagery harkens back to Charles’ career as a graphic designer said Coppola. The distinctive style candy coats the movie, making it watchable but an ultimately forgettable affair.

Foghorn Grade: C+

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