The Counselor Movie Review
The Counselor was really high on my Ten Most Anticipated Films of the Fall/Winter Season. One reason being the cast, I really think that Michael Fassbender has been the best part of every single film of his, that I have seen, and the rest of the cast looked impeccable. Another reason for being so high was Ridley Scott, who is one of the fifteen greatest directors, in my opinion. Alien was great, Blade Runner is probably is most well-made film, but my favorite being Gladiator. Cormac McCarthy writing the screenplay interested me, I loved No Country for Old Men (screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen.) The trailers for The Counselor were riveting and pulse-pounding and all of those things combined are what drove me to the theater. Unfortunately even with the extraordinary amount of talent can be deceiving because while The Counselor is in no way terrible, it was not the movie that wanted to see, but it is what I got.
Before I complain, here is what does work. Michael Fassbender is really good and acts his heart out during the end, and that man can cry on screen and very authentically. Also the scene where he breaks down and cries is the most effective scene in the film, but only if you paid close attention earlier. Also Javier Bardem was so good as an eccentric spikey haired character known as Reiner. Cameron Diaz was given the most different role as an over-the-top, seductive, and main external antagonist, Malkina. Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt also deliver solid performances. But they are delivering very strange dialogue.
The strange dialogue comes from the hands author (but this time just screenplay,) Cormac McCarthy. The Counselor is misunderstood in the sense that it is not necessarily poorly written but the form of writing was unnecessary to begin with. What I mean by that, is that a ton of the dialogue is metaphorical or has a double-meaning. That is what makes this film so hard to grasp and latch onto an actual story. I was thinking in the movie “what are people talking about right now.” Nothing felt connected and it seemed like the dialogue was gibberish. However in the trailer Diaz’s character says “When the axe comes through the door, I will already be gone.” The dialogue in The Counselor is just like that quote, nothing straight forward. I do not need to see linear story-telling or be spoon-fed. However I need to be interested in the characters and story enough to give the film actual credit. I just feel like this form of story-telling could have been left out and replaced with a traditional thriller with great performances.
That really was my main problem but it led into others such as the pacing. The Counselor was almost entirely conversations and not being able to understand what they are talking about made me begin to drift off, and become uninterested, and bored. The film seemed longer than it should have. Also the film was edited strangely but that also goes with the unnecessary non-linear formatted story.
Ridley Scott is mostly known for his Science-fiction films, or historical epic films. He has made some other thrillers like Body of Lies, and the greatly underappreciated American Gangster. I found Prometheus difficult to re-watch therefore originally being my least favorite of his, but The Counselor enters that spot. Again it was not terrible but it was frustrating, choppy, and disappointing.