Man Down

Rated 3.0

Shia LeBeouf became an omnipresent nuisance on movie screens throughout the 2000s, but give him credit for going cold turkey from franchise dreck ever since 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and for working with more interesting directors. The performances and the films are gradually getting better, but they can’t all be winners. Man Down premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2015, where it was greeted with largely negative reviews, and, unlike a fine wine, the film did not improve with age. Director and co-writer Dito Montiel casts LeBeouf as Gabriel Drummer, a troubled veteran searching for his child in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, while flashing back to prewar life with his wife (Kate Mara), and to wartime sessions with an army therapist (Gary Oldman). LeBeouf works his tail off, but too many scenes are meandering and shapeless, with only the puzzle box structure of the story left to hold our interest. D.B.