the-counselor-2013-1Grade (C)

This film without question did have its moments but the overall result was a rather uneventful script that stands no where near the other quality movies in the genre.

Known for directing tense and gritty tales with a beautiful eye, Ridley Scott’s newest film “The Counselor” from the trailer, looked like it would be yet another to add to his reputable collection. The film boasts a solid cast; Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Penélope Cruz.

A successful lawyer everyone calls the ‘Counselor’ (Fassbender) already has it all; a beautiful fiance, and a great career and a life filled with potential. Greed gets the best of him however, and to keep the lavish lifestyle he has become accustomed to, he embroils himself in a highly-complex, multi-million dollar drug trafficking deal.

Despite the warnings from his friend and associate Reiner (Bardem) as well as friend and middle-man Westray (Pitt), the ‘Counselor’ includes himself in the deal. Without any thought taken to the repercussions that could result if even the slightest problem occurs. When the deal goes south for the ‘Counselor’  he finds himself alone, trying to protect his fiances life, and his own, as he struggles to live in a world he was never meant to be in.

“The Counselor” had the recipe for a great drug-related crime drama. Colorful and exotic characters, lavish backdrops to show the glamorous side of the trade, and equally grim set-pieces to show the dark meat-and-potatoes side of the business. The film boasted a solid cast and well revered director Ridley Scott, but somewhere along the way this movie veered off the tracks of success and into the below average abyss of similar films in the genre. In my opinion the problem was in the organization of the plots many angles, and the scripted dialogue specifically.

A film of the subject manner “The Counselor” had can be a lot of things but one thing it should not be is boring, and this film for the most part was. The telling of the story jumped around a lot in the early stages of the film, and while the bits and pieces were nice at times, they didn’t manage to fit together to tell a compelling story.


The script was a huge hindrance to this film, the dialogue was served many times in monologue-style fashion as characters would talk for several minutes at a time, telling an old story or talking about some random friend or girlfriend. These long professorial rants would result in a bit of knowledge or wisdom here and there, but it only managed to pull you further away from an unrealistic conversation. Something that hindered building any real connection to any of the characters.

This one was in my opinion thirty-percent story and seventy-percent conversation, and even more so, conversation about nothing really pertaining to the plot of the film for the most part. The result was a slow paced film that had some great scenes mixed in among many useless ones.

The cast however was excellent and all managed to deliver some compelling performances given the low-quality ramblings of the script. But there was no doubt the collection of cast members were wasted with sub-par scene organization and line after line of random babbling by many of the characters. To the point some were clearly in the film for single scenes merely to do just that.

This movie wasn’t all bad though, there were a collection of great scenes and some witty dialogue mixed among the scenes of useless chatting. While there was little development in the characters they were very unique and entertaining to see portrayed by the cast. But these few glimmers of light are not enough to pull this film from being slow-paced and all over the place in its structure. For fans of the genre, or specific members of the cast, this could be worth a viewing but with a run-time of over two-hours, patience will be a must.

Time: 117 min

MPAA Rating: R (For graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language)