Film Review – The Counselor (2013)

The Counselor

Title – The Counselor (2013)

Director – Ridley Scott (A Good Year)

Cast – Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt

Plot – Written by author Cormac McCarthy and therefore filled with his usual cynical look on human life, the film focuses on The Counselor (Fassbender) who gets involved in a drug deal that includes his business partner Reiner (Bardem) and middle man Westray (Pitt). When the deal goes sour it threatens not only the Counselor but his fiance Laura (Cruz) whilst Reiner’s current muse Malkina (Diaz) has her own interests in the situation.

“The truth has no temperature”

Review by Eddie on 12/11/2013

It saddens me deeply to report that every bad thing you have heard about this box office bomb and film turkey is true, if not even somewhat too kind in the reports of its trashy badness. Make no doubt about it people, The Counselor will go down in history as one of the biggest let-downs of potential, waste of talent and a low point for many involved in the project.

Setting off proceedings with what can only be described as one of the worst openings to a film in recent memory, and arguably all-time, one thinks that things can only get better for the film, a thought process that is as far off the mark as Javier Bardem’s wardrobe stylist. Rambling on from scene to scene, The Counselor never once gives the audience any connection to its main players, and throughout the film one will be wondering more than once just exactly who is who or what is what giving the film a very nasty disjointed feel, and raises the question of exactly who is to blame for this mess?

Straight off the bat some forgiveness must be paid to the actors who all do about as much as possible with their roles, although all have been seen on much better form in previous films. One actress however who cannot be excused is Cameron Diaz, who is surely just biding time until she picks up her Razzie award for an absolutely atrocious performance that includes this year’s worst scene involving a hapless and innocent car windscreen. With the actors somewhat forgiven, the majority of the films atrocity’s must fall upon (and I say this with regret) the great and legendary wordsmith Cormac McCarthy, whose script will also more than likely get the Pulitzer Prize winning author a Razzie. McCarthy’s script is that of a man set on creating metaphorical and hypothetical jargon that looks to act as a deep and wise thesis on love, life and sin yet comes off as pretentious and weirdly amateurish.

Director Ridley Scott has been in the cinematic doldrums for some years now, but all those that thought low points had been reached with such cinema scum like A Good Year, Robin Hood and the overblown mess that was Prometheus can now add The Counselor to that ever growing misfire list and perhaps sit it atop of Scott’s worst films. With 2013 so far offering up more than its full quota of disappointing films one can only hope that such talent is not wasted in vain again, for once you have watched this film there is no coming back from its dark depths of horrible.

1 catfish out of 5

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41 responses to “Film Review – The Counselor (2013)

  1. Wow complete opposite to my take on this one. I actually liked Robin Hood and Prometheus though I don’t believe I ever saw A Good Year. I might like to read some more about areas of the plot you found problematic.

    • Hi Marvel

      So you enjoyed the film? I am happy for you mate as I wanted badly to like it.

      I think the whole film was a mess with a story that seemed to bask in not providing any real backstory or development of character – which is fine in some movies but did not work for me in this film.
      Eddie

  2. Say it ain’t so guys! The trailer looked promising and with a cast like that I thought it was going to be similar to Blow, the Johnny Depp film. 😢

    • I wish it was not so Tom!

      I must say reading about the film originally it all sounded so good then the trailer left me somewhat cold. I never in my wildest and worst nightmares thought it could be as bad as it was however.

      Sad and dark times for all involved.
      Eddie

    • Hi Justjase

      I reckon you owe it to yourself to find out in person and you may end up being a convert of the film!

      It feels like Scott is really heading into the twilight of his career on a massive downward spiral. Let’s hope he can produce another classic before retirement hits.

      In regards to Diaz, I whole heartedly agree and I think Jordan may to!
      Eddie

  3. Are you serious? I saw the trailer and thought of it to be quite a slick movie, what with all the talent in it, Fassbender, Bardem, Pitt, Penelope, etc And I personally liked A Good Year and Robin Hood as well. Let me actually get around to watching this sometime and then maybe I will let you know my thoughts on this. Although truth be told, this is not the first bad review I have read about this film.

    • By far not the only bad review dear sir, I wanted to buck the trend and stick up for some of my favourite film and literature people but it would of been a stone cold lie to say I found anything in this film really redeemable. Interested to hear your thoughts down the track mate.
      Eddie

  4. I agreed with you completely. Despite my review (which I had a lot of fun writing) my friends went to see this piece of junk. Evidently I set the bar so low, they all thought it was a tad better than I described. I’m glad you are on my side :-).

    • It was a lot of fun to write about wasn’t it Joan!

      The films weak points were that obvious that I could of almost gone on one big giant rant. It does feel like a film though that needs to be seen by as many as possible so everyone can make there own mind up.

      I think IMDB is speaking though – it was around a 6 last time I checked and dropping pretty fast.
      Eddie

  5. This film was such a mess, I had no idea what was actually happening for the most part, the best thing that can be said about the film is that it had a pretty brutal kill towards the end! But you summed it up well, although I’d say it’s at least a 2.5/5 for me, the actors at least tried!

    • Hey Mr. Movie

      The actors did try there very best – Pitt and Fassbender came out pretty much on top I think.

      It was like they set out to just make the film almost incoherent which is a shame as it comes off as nothing but pretentious.
      Eddie

  6. Nicely written, you and I both have been awfully disappointed with this. It’s going up there on my list of most disappointing of 2013 alongside The Fifth Estate. You’re completely right about the lack of an entry point for us to identify with these characters; I wasn’t even aware until, er….3/4’s of the way through that I was actually supposed to be thinking ill of Fassbander’s Counselor. The writing was so convoluted and messy that it was hard to understand even what was going on. People just died in really nasty ways. No fun for me.

  7. I like how critics only ever mention the script in order to criticise it. Seriously mate, you must know how much Ridley Scott changes the scripts of his movies. He is a genius with ideas, the only problem is, much like George Lucas, there is no-one in the world who will say no to him. I’ve heard that the original script was supposed to be a masterpiece, hence why all the actors signed on for the project. No, the blame for the lies solely with Ridley Scott.

    • Interesting mate, as previously mentioned in one of my replies I would love to read the script as perhaps it is better without Scott’s alterations.

      As a finished product and with McCarthy credited as screenwriter however mate it’s no wonder his coping some serious blame.
      Eddie

  8. Just saw this one tonight with the filmingyouin guys. Wow! there’s low expectations, then there’s something that makes absolutely no sense. No character development, plot holes, unnecessary scenes and way too long. our review going up soon… not a good one hahaha

    • Hey mate, sounds good! Just shoot us a comment on our about page if you have anything specific in mind, otherwise feel free to reblog any horror reviews whenever you’d like.
      You guys have a great site!
      Cheers, Jordan

  9. I was diverted from this one by the ticket seller. Saw Gravity instead which was incredible. Yes, Scott has not had a winner in years. Maybe American Gangster being the last one. Prometheus was so disappointing, I started my own blog just to vent. I don’t know about McCarthy as a script writer. He will always shine in my book as No Country For Old Men, a Coen brothers screenplay but very faithful to the book, is magical. Still, everyone has a turkey in them, and this one is obviously his. I’m going to avoid it.

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