The Counselor

the counselorDirector Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Prometheus) had a tough shoot with his latest film.  Smack in the middle of the shoot last summer his brother Tony died.  The production halted for a couple of weeks as a result and then resumed back up.  Not to pick on someone whose brother died, but…The Counselor has that kind of frenetic and unfocused nature about it like the person behind everything had other things on his mind.

A lawyer (Michael Fassbender – X-Men: First Class, Shame) has a client named Reiner (Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men, Skyfall).  Through a series of events the lawyer of his own volition becomes involved in the drug dealings of said client.  One particular deal does not go smoothly and unravels very quickly and violently.

What shocked me most…um, or maybe I will just say that it shocked me…was that Michael Fassbender, usually a fantastic actor, turns in a horrid performance.  From his timing to his dodgy American accent everything is below average.  Don’t think that Fassbender is the only one going down with this ship.  The Counselor is one of those films that has everyone and his dog in it.  A huge ensemble cast that includes Brad Pitt (Inglorious Basterds, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Penelope Cruz (Vanilla Sky, Blow), Cameron Diaz (There’s Something About Mary, The Mask), Bruno Ganz (Downfall, Unknown), Rosie Perez (Pineapple Express, White Men Can’t Jump), Ruben Blades (Safe House, Do the Right Thing), Goran Visnjic (from television’s ER), John Leguizamo (Ice Age, Romeo and Juliet), and Dean Norris (from television’s Breaking Bad).  Each takes on an over-the-top character tricked out in crazy wardrobe.  So much so that it overwhelms each of them, or so it seems.

There is a ton of violence in the picture.  But most of it is so expected that it sort of takes the shine (or shock) off of it.  Due to all the violence that you know is coming up you end up being very tense while watching preparing for the next onslaught of blood.

Anything that tries this hard to be cool ends up being very uncool in my books.  The whole thing reaks of “I’m better, smarter and swarmier than your average film”.  The clincher of its stinkiness for me was the amount of cameo like characters that come in just to spout off some ridiculous wisdom or philosophical nonsense never to be seen again.  Yay and groan!

Shock value.  Style over substance.  Nary an emotion.  Totally bonkers.  These are all ways in which can be used to describe Ridley Scott’s latest film.  The only quasi positive thing I can say of the lot is that because it is so crazy despite the fact that it is not a high quality film you still want to see what is going to happen next.  Don’t know if that is enough of a reason to recommend people see it though.

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