The Counselor - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Counselor Reviews

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½ September 20, 2017
A seriously bleak, cold, unfriendly and relentlessly dark film. It's savage, graphic, hard and brutal but also brilliantly written with a poetic, beautiful, loquacious script by Cormac Marcarthy and an unrelenting sense of dread and foreboding which hang over the film like stormclouds. What looks from the cast, advertising and even the title to be a glossy and glamorous action caper, thriller with it's A-list cast is actually the nastiest, meanest and most starkly vicious film of the year. It's grotesque and ugly, chilly and withholding of anything like plot (it just drifts from one black hearted episode to another) character motivation or any kind of closure or comfort. There are scenes that horrify (two men casually discussing the funny side to a pickled dead body in a barrel could sum up the whole film) absolutely baffle (the "fucking the car scene" will not be one you soon forget) and shock,b indeed be warned also that this film has the most cruel gut punch ending since Seven. An unflinchingly callous film about how truthfully awful, evil and just plain shit humanity can be and how there is no more than that, about how the universe looks on all you're pain and grief and misery with utter dispassionate apathy and carries on unconcerned, leaving you screaming unheard in the dark and the cold. Where most movies find light in the dark or a hopeful message to get you through, this movie stands it's ground and refuses to compromise on it's incredibly pessimistic attitude. You'll either like it or more than likely, you hate it, either way this film doesn't seem to care much. Superb, strange and horrible.
September 1, 2017
The Counselor is a unique film with fine performances and interesting plot elements, but also an unfocused and poorly paced plot bogged down with excessive dialogue.
½ August 20, 2017
SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) Great Scott! Ridley has another movie out, this one is called The Counselor

GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) And it appears he didn t get much counseling on making an interesting movie.

SCOTT: The Counselor opens by showing our lead character, an attorney in El Paso, Texas (Michael Fassbender), in bed with his soon-to-be-fiance Laura (Pen lope Cruz). The attorney, who is never named in the movie, is lured into participating in a lucrative drug deal by one of his clients named Reiner (Javier Bardem).

GREG: Reiner s girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz) is fascinated with cheetahs - so much so that she has spots tattooed down her back. Reiner warns the counselor of the dangers of getting involved in drug trafficking but the counselor is not dissuaded. But things go horribly wrong when someone steals the drugs and it looks like the counselor is involved. What proceeds is a look into the dirty underworld of drug trafficking in South America.

SCOTT: Greg, this is one of those movies with some good pieces, but the good pieces never quite get around to forming a good whole. The good pieces include the casting. Brad Pitt, Fassbender, Diaz, and Bardem truly shine and execute their roles to near perfection. There is some excellent dialogue here and there, and Ridley Scott displays some clever and deft directing in several key scenes. But all these commendable parts never coalesce into a good movie. Part of the problem is a heavy-handed script that perhaps tries too hard to be clever and stylish, at expense of some much-needed pacing. There is also the problem of the film being so dark and lacking in heroic direction that we re left with a story that is bereft of much of anything redeeming or worth admiring.

GREG: Scott, I think you re being too generous. This is a stylish movie - there is a lot of opulence. And a lot of talk about sex. But there isn t much sex. In fact the sex talk is enough to make one blush. This film has a bad case of talking heads. There is scene after scene of people talking about what is going on in the film. And there is a lot of very circular talk about morality. Which is strange because virtually no one in this film has any moral character at all. When you say the film is bereft of anything redeeming you re not just talking about the characters in the film, but of the entire film-going experience. I get the feeling that this was someone s idea of a good novel but lost something in translation when it was written as a screenplay instead.

SCOTT: Now that you mention it, Greg, all the ridiculous sex-talk was a strange distraction from the basic plot of the movie. I m not a prude, and I enjoyed seeing Cameron Diaz as sexy and as sultry as ever. But one gets the feeling that Cormac McCarthy, the screenplay writer, is either a hypersexual or is not getting any at all. It would be an entirely different matter if the sexuality ended up playing some role in advancing the plot, or explaining a character s motives, but it does not. And we re left wondering why 10 to 15 minutes of film is devoted to this needless diversion. I also think you are correct that the movie has far too many talking head scenes, but a few of these scenes worked for me. It s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since Pulp Fiction perfected the art of extended dialogue within a suspense film, and scores of movies have since tried to emulate Tarrantino s masterpiece without success. I m afraid that, overall, I have to agree with you that we can add The Counselor to that long list of movies that can t even begin to touch the greatness of Pulp Fiction.

GREG: And to add insult to injury there are plot lines that are exposed and never completed along with a dozen characters who are introduced without explanation. A case in point is Ruth (Rosie Perez) who is a client of the counselor. Her son is in a Texas jail for high speed racing his motorcycle. The counselor springs the boy and ultimately he loses his life. There are a couple of people that we never meet until the end who give the counselor sage advice. We don t know who these people are or why they re important but somehow their meanderings on the state of existence is supposed to matter to us. This has to be one of the worst movies I ve ever seen. It has some luminary stars which makes it very pretty to look at, but there is nothing of value to be gleaned from the dialog. All the characters (save one) is bad. Everyone is greedy. Nobody learns anything. I was bored to death through the whole experience. Ridley Scott had all the materials to make a great film, sadly he elected to use this terrible screenplay as the recipe. I give The Counselor zero out of 5 Reels and zero out of 5 Heroes and humbly nominate it for the Reel Heroes Hall of Shame. Movie: Hero:

SCOTT: Au contraire, Greg, we ve seen a lot worse than The Counselor this year. I do agree with you that The Counselor was a dank, dour movie lacking in any heroes, unless we go out on a limb and call the counselor himself a tragic hero. Greed and hubris sends him down an irredeemable path. Ultimately, this movie fails by making it impossible to like any of the characters, except for a relatively minor figure, as you mention. The people who populate this film are far too verbose and their occasionally clever chatter cannot compensate for the volume of unnecessary dialogue. I give The Counselor just 1 Reel out of 5 and 1 Hero out of 5. Movie: Hero:
Super Reviewer
½ June 25, 2017
I had high hopes for this film but it is very one dimensional and very dark, the ending is another example of tying up loose ends without creating interesting characters. The building block was there and the cast was full of quality performances but the story isn't as smart or interesting as everyone thinks it is. I didn't understand the actions of the characters or why certain characters were being blammed or murdered. Ridley Scott would've had a wide range of films to film but decided on this film for unknown reasons. The obvious bad guy scenario aside, why did they do what they did? I have no idea why the events unfolded that way or why the characters couldn't figure out the betrayal much earlier. The film is a frustrating mess and a blip on Scotts portfolio, I would've thought a film like this didn't need such a distinguished cast to tell this story. 26-06-2017.
June 18, 2017
Where is the old Ridley Scott we have known all these years??? Such a pointless movie. Has just a few good scenes but thats it. But i have to say that the performances were all very good. Especially Fassbender and Bardem. Cameron Diaz gave her best performance in her career in my opinion..
½ June 16, 2017
One of the worst movies I have seen in a long time !
½ June 15, 2017
Worst movie I have ever seen. Even beats our Dune.
½ June 11, 2017
Les critiques sont très durs je trouve avec ce film
½ June 10, 2017
Meandering and with one of the most weirdly un/erotic scenes in movie history.
June 2, 2017
Critics actually get paid to write some of these reviews? Did they even pay attention to what was happening on screen? People are too immature sometimes, they can't even get past Diaz's car scene. That scene has a purpose; she can do whatever she wants to, and show you directly to your stupid little innocent face. This is a wonderful film that shows the extreme capabilities of humans. The darkness that is a dead body getting carted around in a truck full of human waste - real, gritty imagery. Don't shrug this film off as a disappointment, watch and pay attention to what happens to human beings who aren't ready to handle the consequences of their actions.
April 2, 2017
As compelling as it is divisive. Scott's take on the timeless McCarthy tale is bleak, pointless and uncomfortable - exactly like the novel was. It's cardinal sin is feeling, at times, too novelistic - unadaptable even. Buts it's a ride that you're bound to either adore or despise.
½ March 24, 2017
I have no idea what this film is about. How in the world did this cast and crew fail? This movie is appalling.

The script is directionless, and the cast has nothing to do. Whatever Ridley Scott saw in this material beyond Cormac McCarthy's name is beyond me.

Its like an ultra-violent Calvin Klein ad. There's a lot of nonsensical flashy images, mindless sex, dialogue that goes nowhere, and pretty people. Don't look for anything substantive beyond that, because it isn't there.
March 14, 2017
Plenty of all stars on both sides of the camera, as well as lots of sex appeal-Cameron Diaz has rarely looked better-but that's about all The Counselor offers.
The pacing is horribly disjointed; the narrative bizarre; the character motives unlikely; and the "thrills", a.k.a, the various methods of murder, are unapologetically Hollywood. The film obviously wants to ram a message down the audience's collective throat, but I'll be damned if anyone can discern what that message is exactly.
Perhaps the film's greatest shortcoming is that, despite being promoted with it's stellar cast, the story is not character driven at all. It quickly devolves into a turgid mess hellbent on emphasizing the pitfalls of greed through repetitive, and decidedly meaningless, murders.
The Counselor is a bleak, incomprehensible narrative-centric picture that was sold to unsuspecting audiences as a sexy thriller chocked full of elite stars, crafted by proven filmmakers moviegoers have come to trust. It hoodwinks and disappoints all the way through to the very end. Like so many of the characters within it, this movie is utterly irredeemable.
½ March 12, 2017
Possibly the most disappointing movie I have ever seen, given the cast.
January 22, 2017
So, "suspense or thrills" are the criteria of a good movie? Who says this is a suspense thriller? Perhaps it is a movie of ideas, of themes, as is a work of good literature. The movie is, in one aspect, a critique of neoliberal economics, personified by one of the greatest transnational corporations, the drug cartel. We see here a Tragedy, where a man, who is generally good, falls victim to a flaw in his personality or makes a mistake of great consequence,either by a failure of virtue or by lack of reasoning: the counselor. The consequences of his error are great. He has entered a world that he knows little about, having a somewhat constricted view of reality. As the Jefe tells him, "You think there are things these men are not capable of. You are wrong." These men are the man we see in No Country for Old Men, Chigurh. These men are the men for whom short-term wealth and power, ending in their murder, is worth the chance, compared to the "mundane" life the rest of us lead. This is the world in which everything has a price but not much is of value. Note the large amounts of garbage, and the scene with the body in the dump, being buried along with other trash. And we see a person -- Malkina -- who is a strong woman, devious, intelligent, stoical, and evil, caring for her own gain over that of anyone else: perhaps a great capitalist. The movie exposes much that is wrong or corrupt in our world: desire for fame, wealth, possessions, with damage to others or to the environment merely "collateral damage." The cast play their parts well. The plot might be a little complicated for some, but, this is an intelligent movie that requires the viewer to be thinking, to watching for symbols, personifications, ideas being played out that might be unacceptable to some who do not see what is happening in the world. People die daily for the drug trade. People work the sex trade, often in the control of a person, usually male, who "owns" them. This is an effective film, unless all you want is to be entertained.
January 16, 2017
A huge disappointment in almost every aspect. Considering the talent behind this film (a legendary director, a writer whose novel was adapted into an Oscar-winning film, and a cast of incredible actors), this had the appearance of a modern classic. What actually results is a bleak, somewhat convoluted, and downright boring affair. The awful dialogue is too dense in far too many scenes, and a lot of it is completely irrelevant to the story. This makes it fairly difficult to follow, and what can be interpreted from the plot seems sort of cliche. The cast gives it their all, but cannot even come close to saving it.
December 16, 2016
The Counselor (2013) has to be one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen, which is only made worse by the fact that everyone involved seems deadly earnest about how clever they are for participating in this film This film is so bad that it manages to take the titillating premise of Cameron Diaz having sex with a car and turn the reality into something utterly boring. When Cameron Diaz plays a bitch, her face becomes incredibly ugly. I never noticed that before. This film somehow managed to make Cameron Diaz look ugly, which I didn't think was possible. Just a bad, really bad, really, really bad film. It is so bad it doesn't even have the courtesy to be unintentionally funny. The script of Prometheus (2012) was Shakespearean by comparison to this film, and Prometheus did not make any sense. Mark's Grade: F
December 14, 2016
a case of when bad movies happens to good actors. better in Spanish surprisingly.
½ November 30, 2016
Its alot better than people say
½ October 21, 2016
Depressing and not worth watching again
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