Critically acclaimed writer Cormac McCarthy took on his first original screenplay with The Counselor, but it turns out he could use some counseling himself.
With an amazing cast—Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brat Pitt, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz—one wonders how the movie could have gone so terribly wrong.
The plot is practically nonexistent, bogged down by excessive and confusing dialogue that never seems to come full circle. The movie jumps around from these long, drawn out conversations to unexpected and gruesome deaths (two of which are decapitations shown from start to finish) to disturbing sex scenes.
The Counselor seems to have all the usual aspects of an action film with the potential to become a huge success. The plot even has potential, but it is wasted.
“Counselor” (Fassbender), a well educated lawyer, enters into the dark underworld of the Mexican drug cartel with the hope that he will smuggle one load of cocaine over the Tex-Mex border, make a large sum of money and leave.
Experienced middleman Westray (Pitt) warns the Counselor that the cartel is inescapable. Westray thinks that because of his extensive experience with the cartels and his large sums of money he will be able to escape the drug world easily. As it turns out, he is very, very wrong.
Bardem plays Reiner, an extravagantly dressed drug lord with bad taste in women. He fits the character flawlessly and spits out the terrible lines well. His character’s lover Malkina (Diaz) is slightly psychotic, yet a master manipulator who ends up ordering the killing of every main character, except the Counselor, and walking away with all their money.
Although each of the characters is intelligent like Malkina, the movie is plagued with deep philosophical conversations about money, death and love.
Generally, I enjoy conversations like these, yet they are so out of place and dramatic that they do nothing but confuse the audience. They ruin the movie’s flow, adding countless minutes of fast paced philosophical dialogue that even Mr. Stafford would not have been able to produce so rapidly. The dialogue does not help the movie at all—it is far too scripted and random to be realistic.
Although the script is awful, the high profile cast does its best to successfully deliver the lines, yet at times even they looked confused.
By the end of the movie, the audience walks out disappointed and confused with unnecessarily gruesome scenes seared into their minds. Cormac McCarthy took something that had the potential to be magnificent and ruined it. I advise no one to waste their money on this movie.