THE COUNSELOR (2013)

counselor

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.

1 clappers

About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.

17 comments

  1. Thanks for this review, Tom. This is your ‘worst’ review, if I remember correctly. You prove that renowned actors, directors and authors do not automatically guarantee a great movie.

    • It is nearly my worst review Karen yeah. I believe The Hangover 3 was my worst overall, but this is almost as bad because it should have been so much better!

  2. hahaha that last sentence, though!

  3. Oh man, I am so glad that I skipped this. I was about to watch it at one point, but I guess no point in doing so. Shit, how can a movie fail with Pitt and Fassbender…

  4. Good review Thomas. The cast does all that they can with this material, however, after awhile, it does become a bit of a nuisance that nobody here really speaks like actual humans do. Most of that is to be blamed for the fact that Cormac McCarthy is definitely a novelist, and should stay as such.

  5. giorge thomas

    The metaphors! Yes, of course I have seen it – Fassbender is my current love – but I sat there the whole time yelling at the screen – stop with the metaphors! There was nothing real in this film. Who are these characters? How are they connected? Even with Fassbender and Cruz; you felt nothing for them as characters.

    It was like the film was written solely for the purpose of showing what a bitch Cameron Diaz can be. And no, I’m sure that was not her doing the splits. And what the hell was the point of her fucking that car?

    As a poet, you would think I would get the depth of their metaphorical speak, that I would see the essence of what they were trying to say, whether it be that they were looking at the core of humanity, or what a person does in order to survive (bullshit, bullshit) but I didn’t see any of that. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t give a shit about any of it in the end.

    Even Fassbender’s glassy eyes weren’t enough to keep me entertained.

    I think you’ve over-scored it.

    End rant.

    • To be fair to you current obsession, I think Fassbender was the only character who didn’t have to talk crap at any point in the movie. Unfortunately for him, he just had to listen to everyone else prattle on!

      And yeah the whole sex theme running through the film was a bit bizarre as well, not least the Diaz scene!

      I did wonder if I just wasn’t clever enough to get what they were saying but now I realise it was actually just crap!

  6. Tom

    hahah I love that last line of this review. Sums it up perfectly! What a disappointment.

    • Thanks Tom. It really was a bit of a stinker wasn’t it! The thing that made it worse was that is had all of the components to be amazing!

      • Tom

        I know man, tell me about it. It went down as one of my biggest disappointments of the year for that reason.

  7. Pingback: UNDISCOVERED GEMS – THE SUNSET LIMITED (2011) | MOVIES & MUSIC CAFE

  8. I got 20 minutes into this film and gave up because I couldn’t understand what the frickin heck they were talking about! Great review, not so great film.

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