Thursday, October 31, 2013

REVIEW: The Counselor

The Counselor

Michael Fassbender,
Cameron Diaz


October 25, 2013

Ridley Scott

20th Century Fox

1 hour 57 minutes

(no stars)


Throughout this year in film, I have witnessed some remarkable and awe-inspiring movies, and then I watched films that ranged from mediocre to total abominations.  That's why it baffled me that, while watching Ridley Scott's new film "The Counselor," I had the strong urge to either fall asleep or give up and walk out on the film entirely.  At first I thought that it was because I was still mad over the fact that my father chose to see this over "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" and "12 Years A Slave," and the process to get in to the theater was grueling and exhausting due to me being underage.  Apparently it was actually the quality of the film that was causing my eagerness to leave, as everyone in my theater left in confusion, and some were even booing.  If you ever wanted to see a movie where nothing remotely interesting happens in its 2 hour entirety, then get a look at this flick.  "The Counselor" might have a star-studded cast attached to it, as well as Academy Award Winning director Ridley Scott at the helm, but it doesn't only fail at being an intelligent, clever, and entertaining noir-film, but it also fails at being a linear story that makes sense and engages its audience.

Normally this is the part of the review where I paraphrase the plot of the film, but frankly there is barely a plot present at all.  All that is present is a bunch of random situations that are poorly pieced together to make a "narrative" of sorts.  Unlike most films, "The Counselor" offers nothing to its audience and instead has the majority of the people who paid $10 to be entertained scratching their heads and asking questions throughout, including but not limited to "Why is he called "The Counselor?"," "What is The Counselor's real name?", and most importantly, "What the hell is going on?"  I have never been more confused watching a film in a very long time, and this is coming from someone who understood everything that was going on in "Inception."  If the film's script was at least good, then the confusing story might have been forgiven a little bit.  Unfortunately, Cormac McCarthy's script is the thing that drags this film down into the pits.

The best way to describe Cormac's first original screenplay is "pretentious."  What McCarthy does with this film is assume that he is an awesome writer, and with an A-list ensemble cast, can make his work something so incredible that it will have the Oscar voters on their knees bowing down to his all-mightiness.  Unfortunately for him, the script and his writing come off as being snooty, pompous, and a bit self-obsessed.  He tries so hard to have a complex and flowing narrative with some witty and clever dialogue, yet fails at doing so in a miserable fashion.  If the characters were more interesting, the dialogue wasn't so hammy and cocky, and the story actually made sense, then maybe, MAYBE, this film would have been good.

To be honest, I feel bad for the actors in this movie, because they were really trying their best with the material they were given.  Michael Fassbender I believe has proven himself to be a true modern movie star, so to see him in something like this is a shame because his talent could have been used better elsewhere. Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz have won Oscars for crying out loud, so seeing them waste their acting chops in a movie like this is awful to see especially considering that they gave decent performances.  Brad Pitt even sneaks in there to try to give the film some quality, but fails just like his co-stars.  The only person in this movie who seems to be really devoted to her role is Cameron Diaz, and in her subtlety delivers an overall stupid and bad performance that has no extra dimension to it.  Despite their efforts, and believe me they were as strong as efforts can get, no actor in this movie could give any substance to this awful piece of filmmaking.

To be honest, it's a shame that this movie is as convoluted and absurd as it is, because it really could have been at least a decent flick.  Sure it might not have been anything special, per say, but considering that a fantastic director like Ridley Scott and a superb cast including the likes of Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem were behind this production and were seeking out to make a quality movie, it should have been a lot better.  This is Cormac McCarthy's first foray into the screenwriting business, and hopefully it's either his last screenplay, or he goes to school and learns how to write a good script.  "The Counselor" is a movie for a very small audience, and for those who expect an entertaining drug thriller starring some of Hollywood's biggest A-listers, prepare to be very disappointed.



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