The first original screenplay from celebrated author Cormac Mccarthy, directed by Ridley Scott and featuring an all-star cast including the likes of Brad Pitt and Penelope Cruz. What could go wrong? Apparently a lot according to critics who have deemed Tex-Mex thriller The Counselor “trashy” and “misleading.” Michael Fassbender stars as the Counselor, a lawyer who invests in a drug deal with flamboyant nightclub owner Reiner (Javier Bardem) and urban cowboy Westray (Brad Pitt). The deal goes horribly awry and, after losing $20 million in drug money, the purchasers come after the men and their loved ones.
The New Daily says: Opening with a sex scene that will quickly weed out the strong patrons from the weak, The Counselor is a film best suited to those with a strong stomach. If you don’t walk out after the first five minutes, you may be inclined to do so when Cameron Diaz begins dry-humping a car windscreen. Not kidding. Reminiscent of Oliver Stone’s 2012 box office bust Savages, The Counselor‘s rambling and bewildering plot does little to maintain the audience’s attention, and the sudden introduction of characters along the way plays no part in clearing up the confusion. The film’s violence is excessive, featuring an endless stream of decapitations and brutally creative deaths. The topline cast fails to impress – Cameron Diaz’s role as the predatory Malkina is so drastically removed from her usual sunny demeanour that it’s unpalatable, and mildly-entertaining turns from Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt fail to save the film from spiralling into absurdity.
Entertainment Weekly says: “Considering the deep bench of A-list talent involved, The Counselor is a jaw-dropping misfire. The dialogue is laughably pretentious, the plotting is virtually nonexistent, and the performances are so broad and cartoony that you keep wondering if it’s all some sort of prank.”
Crikey says: “Audiences will doubtlessly be put off by an ambivalence towards orderly writing and structure. At least some of the film’s appeal comes from Cormac evidently wanting to take the piss — and Scott putting his eyes up to the test tube, trying to make sense of the sample. The answer to The Counselor’s riddles are obscured behind a weird-ass poker face that’s readable if you want it to be, and impenetrable if you don’t, or can’t, jive with the film’s whacked-out sense of self-importance.”
Rotten Tomatoes says: 36% – “The Counselor raises expectations with its talented cast and creative crew – then subverts them with a wordy and clumsy suspense thriller that’s mercilessly short on suspense or thrills.”
David and Margaret say: David: “Look, we’ve seen so many films about drug cartels and things going wrong…This is different. I’m giving it three and a half.” Margaret: “There is real anti-women stuff in this film that I was very unhappy about. I’m giving it two and a half.”
The Guardian says: “Diaz is all at sea, declaiming her lines like a Mean Girl from the Valley playing Lady MacBeth-by-numbers. That being said, all power to Ridley Scott for refusing to temper or blunt the astonishing, almost nihilistic bleakness of McCarthy’s worldview. If you’re sick of Hollywood endings then this might be just the movie for you.”
Film editor @Ethan_Anderton: “The Counselor has some well-written dialogue, but otherwise it’s grocery store eroticism meets film noir, and that makes it a mess.”
Rockstar @genesimmons: “Shannon, Deadmaus and I went to see The Counselor – Direc/Ridley Scott. Well acted/directed, but a very wordy and ultimately boring script.”
LA Times writer @IndieFocus: “”It changes you.” Saw The Counselor. Has there been a flat-out weirder studio movie this year? A cologne ad for the scent of despair.”
Kids? No. Even adults will barely cope.
Watch it: If you want something different. Not necessarily good. Just different.