Welcome to the new Shakefire.com! Learn more about our changes.

The Counselor

The Counselor

In Theatres: 
Oct 25, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 51 Minutes

Money can make a person do desperate things. For a lawyer living a lavish lifestyle, it has led him to drug trafficking between Mexico and the United States. When his first deal goes wrong and the drugs go missing, the Mexican cartel believes he is involved and it’s only a matter of time before him and his partners are dealt with, regardless of their innocence.

Director Ridley Scott has always been a fantastic visual storyteller, but The Counselor feels scattered and unlike anything else he’s done. It’s very vague in what it’s trying to accomplish so there’s a lot of confusion in what’s going on, especially in the beginning.

The Counselor follows this clean cut, white-collar lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who ends up way over his head when his first drug trafficking deal goes south. He’s new to this life of crime and while he’s guaranteed by his veteran business associates that nothing will go wrong, Murphy’s Law always seems to find a way. As he struggles to make things right, his partners know that there is nothing that can be done to change the cartel’s mind and flee, hoping to escape their wrath before it’s too late.

The premise isn’t too complex but Scott makes things difficult with unnecessary and overly complicated dialogue. Everyone speaks in these philosophical metaphors, from cowboy middleman Westray (Brad Pitt) to the random bartender in Mexico. Everyone has something smart to say. You have to really concentrate on the dialogue or else you’re going to be lost trying to figure out what’s going on, and even then, it’s easy to have something go over your head.

There are a variety of interesting and quirky characters in The Counselor, and it’s the film’s strongest aspect. The Counselor’s go to man, Reiner (Javier Bardem), seems to always be relaxed and in a party mode with his wild hair and crazy Hawaiian shirts. His girlfriend, Malkina (Cameron Diaz), is even weirder with her two pet cheetahs and a strange fixation with exotic cars. Her performance is memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Let’s just say she gets a little too excited with a Lambo.

Ridley Scott has always done interesting films and while The Counselor is no different, it’s overly intensive dialogue makes it difficult to enjoy. There is simply too much going on all at once. There will be some people who enjoy the philosophical nature of the film, but for the majority of filmgoers, it feels sloppy and unnecessary. You’ve been warned.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook