Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Synopsis: A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.
Where do I start with The Counselor? Just have a read at the credentials on display above. Good cast? Decent director? Synopsis sound half decent? Written by the great Cormac McCarthy? Yes to all of these. Yet some how, SOME HOW, they have contrived to waste it all and make something else instead.
You know when you read so many reviews about something and they are all bad you start to think they might be wrong and that actually you are sure you are going to like it. I thought that. And then I got half way into the film and realised that everyone was right. Each character seemed to have two switches. One made them speak in VERY long, nonsensical riddles and metaphors that no real person would ever break in to, and the other switch just made them talk about sex. Seriously, Cormac McCarthy must have gone without for a long time when writing this because the guy had sex on the brain. Every other scene the characters would be engaging in or chatting about sex. I’m not even going to mention the infamous Cameron Diaz sex with a car scene. Oh wait, I just did. You can’t not mention it really, it’s that odd.
About one hour and thirteen minutes into the film (seriously, it was that interesting) I could quite easily have given up and would happily have given it a one star rating. Luckily around that mark, when the drug deal finally goes wrong it improved slightly. The drama and tension increased, the sex talk disappeared and we genuinely had the original synopsis in front of us. Unfortunately yet more metaphoric chat broke in on proceedings (one phoned all between Fassbender and a Mexican guy is particularly excruciating) and disrupted the rhythm again.
Fassbender and Pitt were probably my highlights, Bardem was like a cartoon and Diaz was pretty bad. I think she was supposed to be from Barbados at one point, but the accent disappeared as quickly as it arrived. Then you had unexplained people like Dean ‘Hank’ Norris from Breaking Bad turning up for one brief scene without any explanation as to who he was and why he was there.
If you asked one of the characters how to sum this movie up they would probably say something like “when the wind blows through the burnt tree across the free flowing stream, and when you think you are on your knees and cannot carry on, you will see hope in another world, a world in which you can live or you can die, but you can’t do both because to forsake ones self in pursuit of gratification is to condemn the blind man to certain death at the hands of those you fight against”.
Or something like that.