The Counselor (2013)

The Counselor
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Cormac McCarthy
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Bruno Ganz, Brad Pitt, Toby Kebbell, Édgar Ramírez, Dean NorrisJohn Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer, Goran Visnjic

The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is a lawyer who is about to marry his girlfriend Laura (Penélope Cruz). He is also somehow involved in the drug business through his client Reiner (Javier Bardem) and he’s about to get involved more deeply. And to no one’s surprise except his own, things go very wrong very quickly and it’s all somehow connected to Reiner’s enigmatic girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz).

There were many things I could see going wrong with this film, but what I did not anticipate was that it would be Cormac McCarthy’s writing where things go very wrong. But unfortunately that was the case and the result was a film that was pretty much unbearable.


Cormac McCarthy knows how to write a book, but he obviously doesn’t know how to write a script. Otherwise he wouldn’t have written this drivel. It starts with the story that gets explained way too little. I was extremely confused. Why was the Counselor involved? Was he involved already before the film started or did he just up the stakes? What was Westray’s (Brad Pitt) actual role in the entire thing?

But okay. Maybe I missed some clues, some pointers. I don’t think so, but it’s possible. What I certainly didn’t miss were the good dialogues – there just were none. Every sentence every character spoke was a symbol for something else, had at least three layers of meaning and probably was some kind of metaphorical story. And that made it really annoying and actually rather unbearable to listen to them at all. My eyes were rolling so much inside my head, it came as a great surprise to me that I wasn’t travel sick afterwards.


It also didn’t help that the movie reduced both Laura and Malkina to being sexy – and that even though Malkina could have been one of the most fascinating female characters on screen recently. But her smarts and her ruthlessness always play second fiddle to her sexiness. Frustrating.

The script just meant that an excellent cast (with surprise appearances by my favorites John Leguizamo and Dean Norris) was utterly wasted. Which was still entertaining for the first bit but then it completely fell apart.


Summarizing: No.

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