I always feel bad for movies with an all star cast, produced by a legendry filmmaker, based on the work of a Pulitzer Prize winning author. Sounds crazy? Not really if you think about it. When you take an all-star cast and you team it up with an all-star crew, the bar gets raised impossibly high. When it comes to a movie this hyped, Lindsey Lohan stands a better chance of getting a good review than they do. Regardless of what the early critical reviews are saying, I have to say, I didn’t think the Counselor was that bad. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible.
The movie focuses around the Counselor, aka a lawyer played by Michael Fassbender and girlfriend, Laura (Penelope Cruz). Due to the lack of ethics that many lawyers’ seem to be born with, the Counselor winds up getting involved in some drug trafficking scheme and more than a few crazy characters like Reiner (Javier Bardem), Malkina (Cameron Diaz) and Westray (a cowboy hat wearing Brad Pitt). [more…]
The movie has strong dialog and a decent amount of attention grabbing characters. Everyone has a part to play and no one underplays their part. Cormac McCarthy, legendary novelist and Pulitzer winner, didn’t do a bad job of laying out great dialog and fantastic characters. However, his screenplay writing abilities fall a bit short when it comes to managing an often convoluted plot.
McCarthy seems to have concentrated on the dialog, but fails to explain key elements in the plot. For example, why is the Counselor involved in drug trafficking at all? While he is a man who clearly likes to live beyond his means, it seems odd that he would randomly decide to get sucked into organized crime as a way of paying an overdue Visa bill. Of course, it winds up getting messy and the Counselor tried to get a message to his girlfriend…because this is a parallel universe where cell phones don’t work?
Diaz seems miscast as a bad girl who likes to watch her pet Cheetah’s rip apart bunnies. I’ve seen her playing the ditsy blonde too many times to buy her as a gold digging femme fatale. Brad Pitt’s character seems like an afterthought.
Usually, movie producers frown on novelists writing their own screenplays. There have been a few exceptions to this, but it seems this is one of those cases where they shouldn’t have made an exception. McCarthy seems so stuck on staying true to the book that he left out key elements in the movie that could have made it a lot clearer. The dialog was fantastic and the action was fast paced.
In most normal cases, this would be an above average action/suspense movie. Here’s the problem. This is a movie coming from the guy who wrote “No Country for Old Men”. This is a movie directed by Ridley Scott. This is a movie where expectations were extremely high. Because of this, it’s hard to not go to the theater with high expectations.
If it weren’t for the star studded cast and crew, this movie would probably be getting at least average reviews. However, this is a movie that had every advantage going in. While worth the watch, if you are a fan of McCarthy, or the filmmaking of Ridly Scott, you will probably be disappointed.
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