Saturday, November 2, 2013
The Counselor review
I first saw the trailer for The Counselor at screening a few months ago. It seemed like the perfect film. A seemingly exciting thriller about drugs, girls, guns, and intrigue. With a terrific cast of such greats as Brad Pitt, Micheal Fassbender, and Javier Bardem. Written by Cormac McCarthy! Writer of No Country for Old Men (the book)! And best of all, directed by Ridley Scott. THE Ridley Scott. Director of Blade Runner and Gladiator. I honestly thought this was going to be one of the better films of the year. Then, when I saw some of the early reviews for The Counselor coming out. I was kind of bummed. The reviews were increasingly negative. With all the talent involved, how could this possibly be bad? Well for one, I don't think it is really bad. It's not overwhelmingly good, but it has some nice things about it and I think it's been generally misunderstood. First off, the plot. A successful lawyer known only as The Counselor (Micheal Fassbender), seems to have it all. An attractive wife, Laura (Penelope Cruz). Money. Nice cars. But things start to go south for him when he gets involved with a drug deal that goes very, very bad. So, I went in to The Counselor with generally low expectations because of what I'd seen in reviews. Yet, my love for Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy brought me to the theater to see the film. I was scared that the movie would be a black hole in movie history. An abundance of talent that collapsed under its own weight. Luckily for me, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe it was because I thought it was going to be so bad, but I kind of liked The Counselor. The reason I believe it seems to be almost universally hated is because everyone had such high expectations for it. Sure, Ridley Scott could have done better, but he's not always great. I think this was better than Black Hawk Down. Cormac McCarthy I think did a damn good job with the screenplay. I know a lot of people think differently, but it wasn't bad. His dialogue is very symbolic and poetic. It seems strange coming out of actual people. I think it would be better suited to a novel, but it kind of works here. The reason is because the world that Cormac created isn't a normal world. People talk differently. People act differently. Rules that apply in our world don't apply in his world. The world of The Counselor is this gritty and strange reality where everyone has a secret and no one can be trusted. It's truly pretty interested. Then again, I'm not saying The Counselor is so great. But I am saying it's very underrated. What I think people were expecting is a fast-paced bulletfest comparable to a more violent James Bond flick. What they got was a much more slower paced and dialogue driven thriller. I liked The Counselor more than I expected to. The performances were decent. Micheal Fassbender is constantly proving himself to be a capable and great actor. He just came off a great role in 12 Years a Slave, and now he was damn good in this. The rest of the cast is just alright. Good, but nothing special. Cameron Diaz plays this evil woman who seems to control everything. She's certainly trying, but I don't think she was all that good to begin with. Yet, Fassbender's performance is enough. Ridley Scott's direction is kind of weirdly slow and focuses more on the characters than usual. It's not his best job but it's more than just alright. The best part of the movie are the interesting neo-noir story that Cormac can do so well. Overall I was impressed compared to all the negative buzz that surrounded it. Some reviewers called it "a boring mess" and "an empty, nasty piece of work". I don't think it's deserving of all the hate. It could be better, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think it's safe to say I liked The Counselor. I didn't love it, but I did like it. This just goes to show you can't always listen to the critics. For example, last year's Lincoln got bombarded with praise and award nominations. Yet, I found it to be an incredibly boring film that boarded on painfully slow. Most critics seemed to hate this movie and yet I found it to be fairly well done. It's not for everyone, but I'd say it's worth a watch. I give The Counselor 3.4 out of 5 stars. Happy Viewing. You can follow me on Twitter @WhitsMovies and like me on Facebook at Facebook.com/WhitsMovies.