Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 08:40 am est

Glimpse inside Sheen’s mind too familiar in ‘Charles Swan III’

Posted on February 8, 2013 | by Nora Blake

Courtesy of American Zoetrope Productions

A few years after his highly publicized and grotesque meltdown, actor Charlie Sheen returns to cinema with Roman Coppola’s newest feature, “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III.” While most would assume this role might be a way for Sheen to make a comeback into more professional roles, his latest effort only highlights his bizarre life, on camera and off.

The film follows Hollywood graphic designer Charles ‘Charlie’ Swan III (Sheen) and his stylized, though familiar, lifestyle. Charlie finds minimal success in his choice of profession while also failing to maintain the more beneficial aspects of his life: the relationships he shares with his best friend Kirby (Jason Schwartzman), sister Izzy (Patricia Arquette) and accountant Saul (Bill Murray).

While these connections appear to nurture his sanity, the film’s conflict truly emerges with the disastrous end to Swan’s relationship with Ivana (Katheryn Winnick), one of the many girlfriends who occupy Charlie’s thoughts. Ivana’s uniqueness stems from her irresistibility, which ultimately fuels Charlie’s determination to preserve their relationship throughout the course of the film.

Without much thought, one can discern the many parallels between Sheen’s character and his actual life. Though his sense of humor is at times charming, the particulars of Charlie Swan are so like Sheen’s actual disposition that the viewer cannot take his cinematic presence seriously. Some of the roles Sheen has taken on in the past have demonstrated his potential as an actor, but Coppola’s character mirrors the actor’s faults to excess, essentially portraying Charlie Swan as a washed up, hyper-dramatized version of Charlie Sheen.

Though Sheen’s performance is not exactly a stretch, the other characters bring a needed sense of structure to the story. Without their interactions with Charlie, the audience would lose the continuity and sense of reality necessary for a storyline to exist. Kirby, Izzy and Saul create the only real dialogue throughout the film, as Charlie’s input is mostly displayed through ambiguous fantasies and flashbacks.

Ivana also acts as a tangible character in the main storyline, but she truly shines in the fantasy sequences, in which the audience gets a better idea of her allure and significance. These supporting roles, though minuscule, are significantly more impressive than the main character.

The film primarily falls short because of Coppola’s attachment to the title character. Even with the assistance of splendid supporting characters, stunning cinematography showcasing the world of Hollywood and a fitting soundtrack, “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” displays exactly what the title suggests — though the audience can just as easily catch a glimpse by tuning into an episode of TMZ.

Nora Blake is a contributing writer. Email her at


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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