IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 117 min
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic
A man known only as The Counselor goes to Amsterdam on what he claims is a business trip, but is actually a meeting with a diamond dealer in order to purchase an engagement ring for his girlfriend Laura. Back in the US, the Counselor proposes to Laura, and she accepts. Later, he attends a party at the penthouse owned by Reiner and his girlfriend Malkina, where The Counselor and Reiner have a lengthy discussion, during which Reiner claims that the Counselor is not capitalizing on his position of power as much as he could be. The Counselor meets with Westray, a business associate, to express interest in a drug deal with a four thousand percent return rate. He wants to provide for Laura, but Westray warns him about becoming involved in such a deal, saying that Mexican cartels are merciless, particularly to lawyers…
So once again Ridley Scott proves that since Thelma And Louise, his sadly deceased brother became the better filmmaker, in another film that falls extremely flat, though this one is even weaker than normal. Cormac McCarthy’s books have been made into one good film [All The Pretty Horses] and two very good films [No Country For Old Men, The Road], but The Counsellor makes it clear that he’s a dreadful screenwriter. It seems like he wrote a very really simple story, then cut out most of the details to make it seem complex. I lost track of what was going on a couple of times, but then I also lost interest. The characters spout monologues to each other, generally either offering pearls of wisdom or saying stuff about women [I couldn’t work out whether the vaguely Sam Peckinpah-like views about the female of the species are McCarthy’s or just the character’s], usually with drink in hand, while Michael Fassbender rushes around getting involved in dangerous stuff which is none to clear but probably the same shady deals and double-crosses with seem a million times before.
A good cast [Javier Barden fares best] gamely attempts to make their characters seem like believable people, while the odd bit of violence tries to wake you up. A major character has a particularly memorable death scene on a busy street. Meanwhile the central theme of there being always a price to pay for getting involved in Bad Things is over-emphasised over and over again. As usual now with a [Ridley] Scott film, it’s visually dull too. No doubt McCarthy and Scot think this tedious crap is Deep. Actually, you’ll find more depth in Thor: The Dark World. Pathetic. Scott, please stop before you ruin the story of Moses, and certainly don’t go anywhere near tarnishing Blade Runner.