SYNOPSIS: Legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott and Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) have joined forces in the motion picture thriller THE COUNSELOR, starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. McCarthy, making his screenwriting debut and Scott interweave the author’s characteristic wit and dark humor with a nightmarish scenario, in which a respected lawyer’s one-time dalliance with an illegal business deal spirals out of control.
REVIEW: The Pulitzer Prize-winner and highly acclaimed author of No Country for Old Men (2005), Cormac McCarthy, is at it once again with a screenplay that includes the likes of Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz (Knight and Day, 2010), Penelope Cruz (To Rome With Love, 2012) and Game of Thrones (HBO) vixen Natalie Dormer. Taking the lead here is Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave, 2013), in this Ridley Scott (Prometheus, 2012) thriller that is very much reminiscent of every Mexican Cartel movie one has ever seen. It seems to attempt to play out much like something from the pages of a Quentin Tarantino’s
flick, but resulted in a colossal failure. Something I wouldn’t have expected from such a talented ensemble.
Despite its “A-list” casting and notable writer/director combination, The Counselor is simply not a very likable or gratifying film. It is a flick heavily laden with thick arduous dialog that at times, requires absolute concentration from the audience. It is gaudy, overwritten and phony on many levels. And as if that isn’t sad enough, casting Cameron Diaz as a ludicrous non-likeable-villain was a severely misguided effort, in my opinion and only stood to reveal Diaz’s limitations in her craft. Furthermore, (in an effort to avoid a spoiler here) I have to briefly mention that she does have sex with a car. Mind you, not on a car, but with a car. And no matter what eroticism the said scene can trigger in one’s imagination, that actual scene is horrendous, by most Hollywood “pushing the envelope” standards. On the brighter side, Javier Bardem (Skyfall, 2012) is featured as a slick carefree drug kingpin and does do the film justice with his exaggerated version of everything cartel.
There are two very notable scenes in this flick, worth mentioning. One, being the opening sequence with Fassbender and Cruz in their “love-nest,” and the other being Fassbender’s character’s marriage proposal to Cruz’s character Laura. They both put on some of the best acting, in those two scenes, that I’ve seen all year. That being more credit to Cruz than Fassbender because admittedly I can’t say that I’ve ever been very impressed with any of his previous roles.
To sum it up, The Counselor is an enormous waste of “A-List” talent, and only serves to show the shortcomings of some of Hollywood’s most talented. It is a dark, violent, confusing, and senseless movie. Probably the most senseless I’ve seen all year. It is both a catastrophe, in its own right and strangely compelling at the same time. All the same, very little is being offered here in terms of new and innovative storytelling. I wouldn’t recommend it for a theater visit. It is more of a “nothing better to watch on television, so let’s settle for a TBS® action flick,” type of movie. It deserves two and a half stars, at best, for relatively good casting/star-power and acting. -- MoviMan Stan
By Movi-Man Stan
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