The Counsellor (2013): Film Review

Tagline: “Sin is a choice.”

Had I known The Counsellor would turn out to be as awful as it was, I wouldn’t have bothered going to see it in the first place. It’s films like these that make me grateful for not having to pay to get into the cinema. Considering the fact that it’s directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Robin Hood, Hannibal), I definitely had high expectations of it and wouldn’t have imagined it could be this bad in a million years. With an outstanding cast screaming big Hollywood names such as Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Cameron Diaz, the movie promises greatness but utterly fails to deliver.

The Counsellor (Fassbender) is a successful lawyer who engages in a drug-trafficking plot which ends up badly because of an unplanned error that no one could have predicted. Planning to marry his girlfriend Laura (Cruz), their lives take a turn for the worse and the Counsellor struggles to protect her while still trying to do the right thing. Miscast Cameron Diaz further adds to this 2-hour long disaster and Javier Bardem seems to have stooped low with this role in his promising acting career, especially after winning an Academy Award.

One of the first things which crossed my mind as I was painfully trying to watch this film is that Ridley Scott poorly attempted to replicate Tarantino’s cinematographic style. With unnecessarily lengthy and tedious discussion scenes, I was left with the feeling that all the characters seem to do in this film is talk. The dialogues aren’t even natural, with much of the emphasis being put on cringy philosophical exchanges, completely unrelated to the plot.

Despite Brad Pitt being one of the biggest names in Hollywood, his character neither brings nor takes away anything from the story. Diaz’s role in this film continues to prove just how poor her acting skills are and I do think she should stick to her go-to cheap comedies instead, as I hardly believe anyone could possibly take her seriously. I don’t even know how else I could put it other than saying that nothing happens in this film at all. An ambiguous, pointless conversation cuts to the end credits and leaves the audience confused as to what just happened.

There is no final closure or explanation and it just leaves a bad taste in your mouth, making you feel as if you’ve just sat through 120 minutes worth of monologues with the occasional blood splash (and no – it most definitely doesn’t deserve its 18 certificate). Unless you’re an avid fan of any of these actors, in which case you will remain disappointed anyway, I do not recommend seeing The Counsellor. It’s a waste of money and with so many upcoming films in the last month of this year, I’d suggest saving your pennies for something worth it.

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