The Counselor has all the makings of a blockbuster crime-drama. A star-studded lineup, Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) directing and a Cormac McCarthy (writer, No Country For Old Men) story. Sadly, all of these ingredients are thrown together in a boring, jumbled mess.
The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is a wealthy, successful lawyer that decides to make money via drug-trafficking. Despite warnings from his paranoid, middle-man Westray (Brad Pitt), Counselor (which is the only way he’s referred to in the entire film) moves forward and things go horribly wrong.
Both The Counselor movie and character prevent their own success with awful decisions. The movie is almost two hours but drags on with stretches of awful dialogue. Reiner (Javier Bardem with another weird hairstyle) suggests the Counselor try the drug trade, while sharing his feelings on his girlfriend, Malkina (Cameron Diaz). He remarks that he can’t trust her because “she’s a woman” and women have “got their own agenda”.
Reiner has a conversation with Malkina and asks if she’s “really that cold”, to which she responds “the truth has no temperature”.
Okay….am I missing something?
The characters are rich with money and words, but make the poorest mistakes. The Counselor ignores warnings of how cartels violently handle problems and is later shocked that they hunt him when things go south. Brad Pitt’s Westray seems like the only sensible person, bragging about having backup plans. Later, he loses his cool over a sexy woman in an airport, allowing her to access his most personal information.
I’ve seen kids in horror movies make better decisions.
Cameron Diaz is the biggest standout, as the hyper-sexual, devious Malkina. She owns leopards, has leopard spot tattoos and cat-eye makeup that is so heavy, she looks like a rejected Disney villain. As if her Catwoman look wasn’t enough, she has the most memorable, ridiculous, non-violent scene in the entire film.
She seduces a car. There’s really no better way to put it. Cameron Diaz mounts a convertible and does a routine that strippers would laugh at. It’s meant to be seductive but it’s the biggest “What the f$%^” moment I’ve had in a theater all year.
Halfway through The Counselor, I was bored with long speeches, grossed out by the excessive violence (including a decapitation and a very graphic scene involving a man’s neck being sliced in public) and didn’t care about any of these people. I just kept wondering how these characters were so wealthy but they couldn’t buy any brains to make smarter moves. The movies’ random cuts to different locales across the world seemed pointless and added another distraction.
I’m not sure if Cormac McCarthy’s book is the same but he did write the screenplay. Ridley Scott’s previous film, Prometheus, left me with some of the same “why are they doing this?” moments. The Counselor crawls through pointless scenes, awful dialogue and no real payoff. I only wish I’d been advised against seeing it. If you want to see people make bad drug decisions with a compelling story, watch Breaking Bad.