CLICK HERE to watch the official trailer for The Counselor.
Now open in theaters across Hampton Roads.
Cormac McCarthy has reportedly wanted to write an original story for the screen for the longest time. He is a writer of epic status — a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award with some of his books adapted and made into successful films (No Country for Old Men). So, his dream comes true at the age of 70, when he at last writes The Counselor.
The story goes something like this (as best as I can make out): Michael Fassbender is The Counselor — name unknown. The Counselor is enamored with his new love — played by Penelope Cruz. So enamored, in fact, he travels to Amsterdam to seek out a massive diamond for an engagement ring. But, how will he to pay for this?
The Counselor soon finds himself involved drug trafficking. Despite warnings from Reiner (Javier Bardem), who is somehow tied to the drug trade (not explained), and Westray (Brad Pitt), who is somehow tied to the cartel, (likewise not explained), the Counselor is determined to stay the course for the sake of love.
There are some subplots here and there — including Rosie Perez’s character, a client of the Counselor’s, and her son. There is also Cameron Diaz’s character who is slightly obsessed with cheetahs– of which she has two as pets. She even enjoys taking them to the desert to watch them hunt their prey. Symbolism abounds!
The fully capable, often extraordinary director Ridley Scott is at the home of this film. But even Scott’s talent cannot drive this clunky script to an acceptable outcome. McCarthy fails to create individuality in the characters. Often they all speak with the same tone, rhythm, and awkward word choices. McCarthy writes words that would be amazing to read and yet fall completely flat and awkward when they’re spoken by these characters on screen. Who says (melodramatically) “truth has no temperature”? No one.
The costume design is really good, and there are some really well-composed shots and sequences here, but as they say, the story’s the thing! And there’s really not one of interest. In fact, between the weird sex scenes, the awkward dialogue, and the gruesome beheadings, yes, I said beheadings, (there are three of them) I actually found very little story to engage me.
Sadly, if poor screenplay writing could be a crime, Cormac McCarthy would certainly need a counselor to defend him.
Two out of Five cookies
Rated R for graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language.