The Counselor

**½

It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 3.50 out of 5)
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“Counselor, you may think there are things that these people would simply be incapable of.  There are not.” – Westray

The Counselor

Swift shot:  Go see Savages instead.  The Counselor was so drawn out with an inevitable conclusion – for those paying attention.  The dialog was interesting, and thought-provoking, but it was misplaced in this film.  Designed to create a slow burn, it really just started to annoy me.  Perhaps if I had time to re-watch this film, or read the book, I might care.  Simply put, you can’t escape your fate, and the world is a dark place with unforgiving people.  While it seemed to work for Cormac McCarthy in No Country For Old Men – which I loved – it just comes across as over-bearing and boring.  To para-quote one of the film’s characters, “You can do anything to women, just don’t bore them.”  The same can be said of most movie critics.  I was bored, and I really didn’t want to be.  Ridley Scott has directed some of my favorite films, and he just didn’t deliver with The Counselor.  This was more like Body of Lies and Robin Hood than Alien or Gladiator.

Too many moving pieces (and characters) distract the audience from the message, as you try to piece everything together, you are left with a lot of questions that, quite frankly, you don’t even need answered.  You should feel slightly perturbed after this film.  I certainly was.

The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is a man in love, which means he’s about to do something colossally stupid.  He does.  But, unlike what the previews would have you believe, he doesn’t make one stupid mistake.  He makes several mistakes, primarily surrounding himself with the creatures that will devour his soul.  He is a business associate with a known Mexican cartel member, Reiner (Javier Bardem) and he has decided to venture into the trafficking business himself.  His fate was already sealed before the film even starts, and there is a brilliant metaphor that is mentioned for how the snare is already set . . . so to speak.

The love of his life, Laura (Penelope Cruz) is juxtaposed with the woman in Reiner’s life, Malkina (Cameron Diaz).  Both women play important roles in shaping the fate of their men.  Malkina is sultry, sexy, and demonic, whereas Laura is naive, warm, and a practicing Catholic.  Yet, even she is surrounding herself with people that should have her flee from The Counselor.  But, she too is in love.

The middle-man for the trafficking deal is Westray (Brad Pitt) who does everything short of tell The Counselor to piss up a rope and get out of the deal.  A final warning, if you will, that there is still a point in time where The Counselor can remove himself from the snare.

Now, this is not a spoiler, because we don’t do those at iratefilms without a huge warning.  But, there were rumors that Ridley Scott wanted to gag all press from revealing some big plot twist – folks, there isn’t one if you have half a brain.  There are some different methods deployed in sealing the fate of the characters, and the tension is real, because at the end you aren’t completely sure how everything will play out.

This film will definitely be much talked about, for something that happens in the “third act” – but it wasn’t a spoiler so much as it was a shock to the system.  You’ll see what I mean, because if you are a devout disciple of either McCarthy, Pitt, Bardem, Fassbender, or Scott, this is one of those films that is just too enticing to skip on.  But, don’t say I didn’t warn you that it is pretty boring in most parts.  Kinda like a Paranormal Activity pace where when the evil gets to really come out, it is somehow more poignant.  Savages balanced that brilliantly!  The Counselor, not even close!

 

 


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