The Counselor – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

The CounselorThe Counselor – 3/5 – Ridley Scott, a famed director.  In his history of being a director, he has created many wonderful films and stories that have been award winning or classics.  No matter what genre he would tackle, all the movies he has given us have always had a singular tone that would bring ‘completeness’ to the experience.  With that being said, this film would consider a hiccup for a great director.  For all the great actors/actress that is in this film, everything gets lost within a story that doesn’t have any cohesion.  Overall, The Counselor is a film that has potential, but never hits its stride.


There are many famed actors in this film.  The list goes as followed:

Michael Fassbender as the Counselor

Penelope Cruz as Laura

Cameron Diaz as Malkina

Javier Bardem as Reiner

Brad Pitt as Westray

I am coupling all these people into one description because they have the same exact portrayal.  All these actors provide the same wealth and vigor as the next, creating characters that are intriguing but auspicious.  As much as everything is relied upon their skill, they have to put their skills to the test because it is very dialogue heavy in the script.  You see fervor in their interaction and manipulation of each situation.  As you watch each characters interaction, they do a great job in providing a unique aura when conversing between one another.  Even for all the quality, there isn’t a real standout from the group, as it all feels as if each character is part of a bigger thing.  Beyond that ‘group’ feeling, there is also great tension built from their dialogue, as you watch all the intricacies of each individual come into play.  When it comes to the supporting cast, they are typical plot devices for the movement of the film.   There isn’t anything important in character development fur the support, but it is worth noting that they help keep situations intriguing at times.

The direction of the film is a dismal display of stringing dialogue with purpose.  As mention above, the film is heavy on script, interaction and conversation.  From the beginning, all actions are pushed through words, as each situations builds upon the next, causing a string of reactions that lead to even bigger consequences.  In the first half of the film, the feeling you get is that all these people are intertwined in some kind of underlining deal.  What you learn (vaguely) is that each of the main guys (The Counselor, Reiner and Westray) has put their lives and money on the line for this particular deal.  Through some convenient situations (outside of their hands) that cause the deal to go haywire, the three guys are left to deal with the aftermath.  As you watch the first half of the film, you realize how big of a convoluted mess the story and character progression is, as you watch the direction weave lines of importance, but never fully explain them.  Also, the tone never seems to focus on one thing, going between realistic drama, dark satire and some romantic elements from scene to scene.  With this friction of tone, you can never really get engaged in the story or care about what happens to the characters in the film.  The one strong point through all the mess is the dialogue.  The dialogue is very subtle and deceptive, as it keeps you thinking about whose being played, and which side will be the winner.  When the film gets into the second half, the story starts to have some focus, as the tone begins to settle on a dark satirical stream.  As the film continues, it stays strong with its dialogue.  In the last act, the film sputters to some kind of conclusion, as you watch the film drag through the aftermath of the choices each of the guys has made.  There is no clear cut ending to the film, as it ends abruptly, leaving more questions than answers.

The visuals of the film are very intriguing, but because of the films lack of direction, you never really care about what you see.  The score is pretty much non-existence, so there is no real need to describe the music.

Overall, The Counselor is a film that had so much potential, but because of the terrible direction and lack of a cohesive story, there is no real engagement for the audience.  If you’re a fan of Ridley Scott, I’d say check this out, otherwise, it is only worth a Matinee.

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