Fast Charlie is a gripping Southern gangster yarn that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. This adaptation of Victor Gischler’s Gun Monkeys dives headfirst into a world of bloodshed and chaos, but amidst the violence, it manages to create a surprisingly credible May-December romance. While James Caan’s final film may not find its audience in theaters, it is a must-see for genre fans eager for a thrilling and gritty experience.
In the heart of Louisiana’s bayou country, we meet Charlie Swift, masterfully portrayed by Pierce Brosnan. Charlie is a seasoned gangster who, despite his age, continues to command respect among his peers. Young hot-shot punks may believe they are superior, but Charlie’s wisdom and experience are unmatched. However, the respect he deserves is not always given, and some reckless wannabes pay the price for their arrogance early on.
Director Phillip Noyce expertly sets the tone for the film with the first victim’s demise, blending darkness with a touch of comedy. As the story unfolds, Noyce manages to sustain this tone consistently, no matter how grotesque and perverse the situations become. The screenplay by Richard Wenk adds to the film’s outlandishness, making it a love it or hate it experience. The energy injected into the silliness and the extreme nature of the events push the boundaries and make for an entertaining ride.
Charlie dreams of retiring to Italy, leaving his life of crime behind. Unfortunately, fate has other plans for him. He finds himself pulled back into the dangerous underworld when he becomes involved with Marcie, a bereaved widow played by Morena Baccarin. To make matters worse, Charlie is the one responsible for her husband’s death. It may sound preposterous, but the film embraces the unlikeliness of the situation wholeheartedly, forcing the audience to either embrace the madness or dismiss it entirely.
Fast Charlie is not for the faint of heart. Countless murders punctuate the relentless narrative, leaving the audience questioning the reasons behind the bloodshed. The film’s creative energy is evident in the clever and sometimes grotesque murder scenes, each one more zany than the last. The filmmakers appear to have gone all-out to make these moments entertaining, sparing no effort in their execution.
Amidst the chaos, Charlie contemplates retirement once more. However, his plans are repeatedly derailed by unexpected cases and emergencies. As he becomes entangled with Marcie, their unique relationship raises eyebrows due to their significant age difference. This intriguing dilemma is handled delicately by the filmmakers, allowing the audience to navigate through the complexities of their connection. Brosnan and Baccarin deliver compelling performances, portraying wounded but intelligent characters struggling to find their way through the violence that surrounds them.
Despite the absurdity of their circumstances, Charlie and Marcie’s hopes and desires shine through. The actors skillfully portray their characters’ emotional depth as they grapple with the consequences of their actions. As the story unfolds, we find ourselves invested in their journey, sympathizing with their uncertainties and rooting for a glimmer of happiness amid the darkness.
Fast Charlie is an unapologetically dark and twisted gangster tale that will captivate fans of the genre. With its unique blend of mayhem and romance, the film offers a gripping and immersive experience. While some may dismiss its preposterous plot and extreme nature, others will embrace the energy and zaniness that make this film a one-of-a-kind adventure. Fast Charlie may not have found its place in the theaters, but it is undoubtedly a hidden gem for those seeking an adrenaline-fueled journey into the heart of the criminal underworld.