Arts movie review

Save your high expectations for something else

A disappointing crime thriller from director Ridley Scott

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Reiner (Javier Bardem) and Malkina (Cameron Diaz), a couple in The Counselor whose relationship is about to undergo seismic changes.
Kerry Brown


The Counselor

Directed by Ridley Scott

Starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz

Rated R

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I had high hopes for this movie. Ridley Scott, Cormac McCarthy, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz? A-List all the way, right? I was so, so very disappointed. From just viewing the trailer, you pretty much get the entire movie minus the endless and mostly dull dialogue.

The main character, referred to only as “the counselor,” is a lawyer who gets mixed up in a drug deal. Things, of course, go wrong, and everyone involved in the deal and their loved ones are in danger of being murdered and/or tortured by the cartel. We are promised sex and violence, though the violence is just what you’d expect, and the sex is frankly gratuitous and awkward. The trailer creates curiosity in the viewer. What moral decisions will the counselor face that will surprise him? What caused him to get involved in the deal in the first place? What role does he, or anyone else featured in the movie, play in the drug deal? Don’t waste your ten bucks going to the theater to find these answers — they aren’t in the movie! I spent most of the movie expecting everything to come together in some artful and clever way near the end of the movie but (you can see where this is going) it did not.

The movie did not make me care about a single character (with maybe the exception of Penelope Cruz’s character, simply because she was thrown into the mess by being with the wrong guy at the wrong time). I did not understand the motivations of any of the characters, nor what they were even doing in the movie in the first place. There is basically no plot other than what you get from the trailer, which is the archetypal drug deal gone wrong. There is long, almost Shakespearian dialogue throughout the film, sometimes by characters who only make an appearance to give a speech, and are then never to be seen again. Most of the dialogues are dull and seem nearly out of place in the film. Events in the film are hard to piece together to form a coherent story, and there were many scenes that made me wonder why they were featured at all.

Perhaps there is some profound and meaningful message buried deep within the films cinematographic layers, that is meant for the Oscars committee to discern, but I would venture to say that this film will be disappointing, confusing, and simply not entertaining to anyone looking for a good movie to see this weekend.