Ostensibly Charlie Casanova is a critique of the Irish ruling class and their arrogant attitude towards wealth, power and the working class; in reality, it is a boring, relentless rant by an obnoxious git.
The film follows besuited uber-male Charlie Barnum and his entourage (wimpy wife, sad-sack best friend, best friend’s flirtatious wife, dull brother, dog-obsessed brother’s wife) as they stay in a hotel for some sort of business conference. To be completely honest, I’m kind of guessing at this; such is the lack of any narrative clarity that it’s a little hard to establish, or indeed, care. In fact, the mise-en-scene is so confused and directionless that the already-minuscule budget could have been cut even further by filming the whole thing against a blank wall.
When Charlie accidentally runs over one of the working class scum, or “tracksuits”, that he despises so much, he decides to abdicate all responsibility for his actions to the draw of a playing card. Once Charlie has used his new-found process to be a bit of a perv, he then demands that the others join him in asking the cards to determine their fates. Unsurprisingly in a film demonstrating so little imagination, the questions posed generally revolve around kinky sex or pointless violence.
The greatest pity amidst all the shouting, punching, fucking, menstruation, minor bestiality and relentlessly tedious conversations and voiceovers is that Emmett Scanlan throws himself into the lead role with a commitment completely undeserving of the film itself. The writing does nothing to support his talented turn. Pompous soliloquies that sound like the ramblings of a first year film student obsessed with American Psycho cascade from Charlie’s mouth like bile, which means his climactic, confrontational question to the viewer - “You think I’m a beast? The devil? The bogeyman?” - can only really elicit one answer: “No, I think you’re an utter bell-end. Good day, sir”.
Sad, shallow, boring people doing unpleasant things, Charlie Casanova is the cinematic equivalent of a night on the gin. You can’t remember much about it except that you know you didn’t like it, you feel a little sick and dirty, and even though it’s all over, a foul taste remains in your mouth.