Dalton’s Cinema Spot- The Counselor

Dalton's Cinema Spot- The Counselor

Dalton Valette, Opinions Editor

R, 157 minutes

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz

1.5/ 5 Stars

 With a cast and crew like this, how on Earth could The Counselor be so bad? The stylized, Western type thriller centers on an unnamed legal counselor (Fassbender) as greed overcomes him and he becomes involved in a drug trafficking ring with the crazy haired Rainer (Javier Bardem), his mistress Malkina (Diaz) and banker Westray (Brad Pitt). But, when Malkina double crosses all of them, the counselor must guard himself from her and the cartel as he becomes more entangled in the drug trade.

At least The Counselor looks good. The cinematography is unique and captivating and the way director Ridley Scott utilizes the color spectrum to convey the atmosphere of aridity for Texas and Mexico is done exceptionally. The writer of this film is Cormac McCarthy who is best known for the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Road as well as No Country for Old Men which inspire the Best Picture film of the same name. All the characteristics of a McCarty story are there; crime, double crossing, desert landscapes, vile characters, but there is none of the spark and this feels like a knock off of an idea that McCarthy scrambled to write under time constraints.

What’s interesting as well is that in most McCarthy works, the dialogue is very simple to keep the story tension film and to not distract. Here, most of the film is consumed by pointless, clichéd monologues that bog down the pacing terribly. All the actors are subpar at best with the worst being Cameron Diaz as she plays her “villain” with listlessness and boredom in her cat eyes while trying to stay smoldering and sexy, both of which fail. The movie has no tension what so ever, the length is a half hour too long, and the story is so convoluted and filled with subplots that yielded no satisfying conclusion, I was left numb from  trying to actually figure out just what was going on and why.

A boring story, dime store morals, which are smacked over the head (greed is bad, we get it!), bland acting, and an absolutely ludicrous plot tied in with one of the worst movie endings of the year lead to a disaster of a potentially promising film. With such a marvelous cast and crew, I was expecting excellent, and what I was left with was a wet rag filled with gross, unnecessary garbage. The Counselor would need a heck of a lot of guidance to even hope to achieve mediocrity.