Everything about The Counselor seems like it should be brilliant. You have Ridley Scott directing an original script by Cormac McCarthy and a cast that is profoundly legendary for a modern Hollywood production. I mean it’d be pretty difficult to screw up a film about a drug deal gone bad, and the consequences therein, right?
The Counselor was easily one of the most anticipated films of 2013 because of Scott, McCarthy and a cast that includes a number of Oscars winners and enough nominations to make even the most jaded award chaser happy. And yet it turns into a film that’s more concerned with long dialogue sequences that go nowhere instead of to a point. If you like films with big talks that feel like existential philosophy, and have virtually nothing to do with the film or its plot en masse, then this is your film.
The title character (Michael Fassbender), only known as “The Counselor,” joins up with his drug dealing client (Javier Bardem) to finance an epic drug deal with a highly dangerous Mexican cartel. When it goes sour The Counselor is left to try and solve the problem and make everything right while the world conspires to make it wrong.
With this much talent this should be a fairly good film, at least you’d think? The problem is that instead of doing anything the characters in this film just talk. And talk. And then talk some more. It’s not even as if the dialogue is brilliant, either. Most of it is just meandering, not really building to much of anything at all, as this is a talky film where the dialogue doesn’t go much of anywhere at all.
It’s a shame because this feels like there’s something there that could be great. This is a film that feels like a McCarthy book, needing a good screenwriter to hone it into something cinematic.
An extended cut of the film is included but there isn’t much to rave about. It’s just longer scenes and more dialogue, none of which adds much back into the film. If you thought the film needed another hour of the same monotonous tone then this is all you.
20th Century Fox presents The Counselor . Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by Cormac McCarthy. Starring Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Rosie Perez. Running time: 117 minutes. Rated R. Released: February 11, 2014.
Tags: Cormac McCarthy, Ridley Scott, The Counselor