The Counselor (2013)
A rich and successful lawyer, the Counselor, is about to get married to his fiance but soon becomes entangled in a complex drug plot with a middle-man known as Westray. The plan ends up taking a horrible twist and he must protect himself and his soon to be bride as the truth of the drug business is uncovered and targets are eliminated.
Genre : Crime/Drama
Michael Fassbender : Counselor
Brad Pitt : Westray
Cameron Diaz : Malkina
“A man would give entire nations to lift grief off his heart and yet,
you cannot buy anything with grief, because grief is worthless.”
This is a difficult movie to rate. I have mixed feelings about it. The first part is terribly tedious and boring. A series of hugely pretentious dialogues and incomprehensible philosophical reasoning. It’s a montage of various fragmentary issues that make it difficult to sense the vibe of the movie and to understand what it’s about. Also there are subjects used that were completely beside the point in my eyes (the erotic beginning for starters). Also the total absence of any explanation of how they ended up in this situation, makes it uneasy to follow the storyline.
Ridley Scott, of course known for his masterpieces “Blade Runner” and “Alien“, didn’t succeed in keeping up the momentum. You first need to endure a full hour to finally realize what the contents of the movie is and after that you can enjoy a rough settlement by the drug cartel. And that’s the double feeling about this film. The first part gets a unsatisfactory grade. The second part is the counterbalance.
In terms of characters Brad Pitt tops them all. A savvy person with a reserved and confident attitude that apparently has everything well organized. When something starts to go wrong, he can disappear instantly and retire for the rest of his life. His white suit and Stetson on his long hair gives him a dignified appearance and a rebellious appearance at the same time. Michael Fassbender as “The Counselor” was convincing as a lawyer , but what the hell is he doing among those criminals ? He looks like a choirboy who will start to cry when slapped in his face. This is also something that is not really clear . How did he end up with the drug lord Reiner ? Is he also a kind of counselor as Tom Hagan in “The Godfather” ? I don’t think so. He would earn enough money and wouldn’t be involved in the drug deal that ultimately will bring him down. Money problems perhaps ? I don’t think so either since he can travel all the way to Amsterdam to choose a diamond.
Javier Bardem was also brilliant as the eccentric Reiner. He looked just like a tanned Tom Jones. Penélope Cruz played only a minor role and she was just a religious prude naive woman who was constantly upset by the others. The only one I hated instantly, was Cameron Diaz. She is as hot as a typical non-functional oven and she’s clearly getting older resulting in slight hanging skin at some places. Besides the fact that she plays a dual role in a sly way, she tries to shock sexually, with as highlight the sticky wet routine on the windshield of Reiner’s car.
The story on its own is dead simple and it doesn’t need 2 hours to be told. It took so miserable long because of the dialogues as mentioned earlier . It was terribly annoying after a while . Even with subtitles in English , it didn’t make any sense to me sometimes. Everybody seemed like having an academically degree in languages. It seemed as if they had to transform every dialogue into an anthology of an intellectual high level with a lot of difficult words. Even the drug baron Reiner and someone from the drug cartel used those intricate descriptions. They sound so philosophical that I doubt they could understand themselves. A fragment of the Dutch diamond expert sounds as follows : “To partake of the stone’s endless destiny, is that not the meaning of adornment? To enhance the beauty of the beloved is to acknowledge both her frailty and the nobility of that frailty. At our noblest, we announce to the darkness that we will not be diminished by the brevity of our lives.“. Even after reading it three times again, i still can’t understand the deeper meaning .
The most impressive scene was the liquidation of Brad Pitt. It was filmed fairly explicit and gruesome. The best dialogue was between Pitt and Fassbender about Snuff movies. The funniest thing was the fact that they twice used a joke that’s often told here amongst friends. The one the motorcyclist told about the dog food. The second about the Pope in Mexico. Funny to experience that.
Final conclusion: an intricate dead boring first hour as a precursor to a quite impressive offensive end. Ultimately, on average, it is still not sufficient.