Review: The Counselor

In 2007, Michael Bay created a mega, summer movie blockbuster event that brought some incredible advances in special effects, a slew of unnecessary sequels and most importantly, made famous the incredibly sexy, sweaty grease-monkey character Mikaela Banes, also knows as Megan Fox. If there is anything Michael Bay did right in that film, was give audience members as well as pop-culture enthusiasts one of the most memorable cinematic stills since Marilyn Monroe in 1954’s The Seven Year Itch. Leaning on the sizzling hood of Sam Witwicky’s 1976 Chevrolet Camaro’s hood, allowing the heat from the engine to soak Mikaela’s body with sweet sweat, Bay created eternal movie magic with that iconic scene. Since then, audiences, as well as critics alike, never thought that the day would come when an overly fetishized, sexual image involving a car would ever come. Oh, it came!

The only difference between Diaz‘s Malkina’s outrageous car scene and Fox‘s iconic heated scene is that, Diaz and company wish they had as good a movie as Transformers on their hands and a film that people will actually care to watch and recommend, and that’s putting it nicely.

The Counselor seemed to have no advising or counseling on it at all, because director Ridley Scott and company deliver what is surely going to be one of the worst decisions in their careers in a long time. What looked like a thrilling game of cat and mouse, quickly becomes a dry, careless piece of gorgeous snuff.

The Counselor follows, well, the counselor (Michael Fassbender) as he navigates the waters of his first ever, illegal and immoral business venture of drug trafficking from Mexico across the United States boarder. That is pretty well everything you need to know and everything that is really told. Just like the lack to give a name to the lead, The Counselor is a cold, informal and perplexing film of too many characters and not enough explanation or purpose.

The Counselor shows the relationship between himself and his gorgeous wife Laura (Penelope Cruz), his relationship with people in the underworld including Westray (Brad Pitt) a middle man between professionals and the cartels, Reiner (Javier Bardem) a man of means, and Malkina (Cameron Diaz) the lavish girlfriend of Reiner. Other than that, things go from bad, to worse, in both the narrative of the film, and the film itself.

Lacking any real storyline or empathetic characters, The Counselor serves as an ill-advised example of the power within Hollywood. Following in the footsteps of other complete disaster ensemble films like this year’s Movie 43 and The Coen Brother’s 2008 tragedy Burn After Reading, the film serves no purpose other than Diaz‘s amazing showcase of acrobatics, sensuality and unexplained perversion.

The Counselor 2

The film itself is a stylized and beautifully shot piece of work. Sadly, pieces of art share more of an emotional response than this film does. The film is flooding with lost scenes, pathetic foreshadowing and unflinching action/reaction shots.

One of the most noticeable disappointments of The Counselor is its script. Acclaimed author Cormac McCarthy is a recognized and respected writing force. So many of the most striking narrative feature pieces of the last decade, including No Country For Old Men and The Road, have used McCarthy‘s work as source material and enhanced the characters and narrative of McCarthy‘s narrative worlds. In his first venture as feature screenwriter, McCarthy overcompensates with nonsense,  directionless and often sleepy dialogue. I’m unsure if McCarthy was pulling inspiration from Shakespeare or Hemingway, but instead of delivering on precise, metaphorically driven, analogical monologues and conversations between characters, McCarthy simply loses his audience and instead allows his talented actors to give long-winded, spoken word lullabies.

Every so often, there comes a movie that really makes me scratch my head and wonder how and why all the talented individuals involved could possibly sign on to a movie like this. The Counselor is well on its way to being one of the worst movies of 2013. Strangled with boredom that even scenes of decapitation couldn’t possibly help make it even a bit interesting, The Counselor is a failed attempt for everyone involved but Diaz. Diaz will surely be remembered for years to come for her scene atop a bright yellow Ferrari, a vacant golf course and a priceless face made by Bardem, who encompasses the feeling of the whole movie, with one facial expression. Disbelief is the best way to describe it, or gynecological, if that even makes sense, because nothing in this film attempts to make sense. This film is in desperate need of some professional help.

Night Film Reviews Rating: 2/10 Stars (Just For The Ferrari Scene).

Here is the misleading trailer for The Counselor. 

Have any words of wisdom or advice for The Counselor? Share your thoughts or opinions below in the comments section. 

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