The Counselor Movie Review
If you heard that Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz all star in the same movie directed by Ridley Scott, you would probably think that film would be pretty good. In the case of THE COUNSELOR, you would be dead wrong.
THE COUNSELOR is about a lawyer (Fassbender) who gets in way over his head with a drug trafficking operation that goes horribly wrong. The basic structure has prospects with the three biggest stars Fassbender, Bardem and Pitt all playing characters who are allies rather than enemies. The story mostly unfolds with them all on the run before their perceived enemy kills them and their loved ones. A potentially intriguing concept that is poorly executed.
Cormac McCarthy who is known for his novels The Road, No Country for Old Men, and All the Pretty Horses, which have all been adapted to the big screen with critical success, tries writing for the big screen this time around. Unfortunately, the attempt at his first screenplay ends in disastrous results. Long redundant conversations are kept interesting by some smart editing and direction combined by compelling actors making the most out of practically nothing. Every action is telegraphed by blatant foreshadowing through dialogue that explains in great detail what the audience will unsurprisingly see later in the picture. Cryptic monologues start the film with a jolt of hopefulness but the repeated hammering at every conversation implying some morbid life lesson comes off amateurish and self-righteous. It’s like when you meet someone who sounds cool and intriguing but the longer they talk the more you realize they are full of it and you pray they will either shut up or walk away. Spoiler Alert: Neither happens.
For the most part, the actors offer some positivity to the rather lackluster film. Fassbender, Bardem and Pitt are still able to maintain their charisma that might be able to fool one into thinking their corrupt characters will ultimately have some sort of significance. Javier Bardem particularly creates a more entertaining character that otherwise might be quite forgettable. Penolope Cruz shines in her limited time on screen. Cameron Diaz, on the other hand, tries a little too hard to make her villainous character stand out in what I’m guessing is what she believes is an oscar worthy role. Not all of her overacting is at fault as some of the jeers should be credited to the writing as even Bardem’s character awkwardly explains his fear of her from an odd sexual encounter with his car. Yes you read that correctly, Diaz violates a Ferrari in a ridiculous scene that will unfortunately probably be the one thing that keeps THE COUNSELOR from drifting into complete oblivion.
There is a sense of suspense and intrigue that permeates throughout the picture. However, while you futilely await for more depth to reveal itself, the realization that nothing of importance will ever be slowly washes over. The talent within the project is able to sustain the idea that THE COUNSELOR might be good even while the film plays. But when it’s all said and done, THE COUNSELOR offers nothing of any substance or consequence, ultimately becoming completely insignificant.