Review: THE COUNSELOR (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 3 February 2014

Review: THE COUNSELOR (2013)

Review: THE COUNSELOR (2013)
Despite A-list cast and some shocking act of violence, THE COUNSELOR is too wordy to thrill.

At the first glance, THE COUNSELOR seems like one of the must-see movies of 2013 (and yes, it was banned here in Malaysia): there's Ridley Scott (PROMETHEUS) in the director's chair; acclaimed author Cormac McCarthy (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) making his first screenwriting debut; and an A-list cast featuring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt. With the amount of talents involved, this movie is seriously hard to ignore. But upon finally watching it, I was floored by the disappointing outcome of this movie.


THE COUNSELOR revolves around the unnamed title character (Michael Fassbender), a Texas attorney who is about to marry his beautiful girlfriend, Laura (Penelope Cruz). He gets himself involved in a US-Mexico drug deal with a shady middleman named Westray (Brad Pitt), simply because he needs money to pay for a 3.8 carat diamond of engagement ring and live a lavish lifestyle. When the drug deal starts to go wrong, the counsellor lands himself in a deep trouble that everyone else involved with him will pay the price.

The movie's sudden burst of graphic violence is simply shocking, especially the one involved "bolito" -- a mechanical device comprising a loop of alloy wire attached to a small electric motor at which the wearer's head will be decapitated when the loop is tightened around the neck. Technical credits are top-notch, including Dariusz Wolski's lush cinematography, Daniel Pemberton's unusual music score and of course, Arthur Max's slick production design that deserved some mentions here.

Javier Bardem is perfectly typecast as the counsellor's flamboyant wealthy friend, Reiner while Cameron Diaz steals the show as Reiner's vicious girlfriend, Malkina. As Laura, Penelope Cruz makes full use of her limited screen time hitting all the right notes as the counsellor's naive girlfriend and bride-to-be.
The controversial, yet bizarre scene involving Malkina having "sex" on Reiner's yellow Ferrari. Another one, of course, is the graphically violent scene involving the fate of Westray's life.
Ridley Scott's direction is unusually restrained here, which in turns, becomes his huge mistake because he let Cormac McCarthy's wordy screenplay do all the talking. Although McCarthy is a highly-acclaimed author who has an unusual talent for words, he fails miserably as a screenwriter simply because he makes every scene a chore to sit through. Almost every conversation involving two characters interacting each other will last about ten minutes or so. Problem is, McCarthy's love for verbose dialogues are heavy-handed, yet so boring to hear. He should have learned a thing or two from better screenwriter like David Mamet or Quentin Tarantino when comes to talky pictures. Not surprisingly, THE COUNSELOR feels terribly draggy at an almost two hours long. If that's not bad enough, the movie is also noticeably lack of thrills while the anticlimactic ending is such a huge disappointment it might leaves you hanging with... Is that it?

As the title character, it's such a waste that Michael Fassbender's would-be impressive performance is sadly underdeveloped.


THE COUNSELOR is simply one of the worst movies in 2013. For those who have trouble sleeping all the time, watching this movie might help.

1 comment:

Kelvin Tan said...

I didn't even know this movie existed. LOL