Written by: Cormac McCarthy
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt
Even with creating some of the greatest films cinema has ever produced, Ridley Scott can never be trusted when he attaches himself to a project. Even with the excellent casts that flock to anything with his name, he cannot save even the most ridiculous of stories. The Counselor proves to be just that, an incomprehensible and horrifyingly terrible story where everyone looked bad for being a part of it.
Known for providing legal representation for cartels, The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) has curried favor with some powerful people and has garnered plenty of money doing so. In order to expand his earning potential, he decides to get involved with an actual large drug deal coming from Mexico, but when things do not go as planned, things begin to fall apart.
Trying to figure out where this film went wrong has its difficulty because no aspect of it arrives with any form of respectability. With the people involved with this product, it has no reason whatsoever to be the dumpster fire it turned out to be. For goodness sake, the story is written by Cormac McCarthy, who put together the thrilling No Country for Old Men, has the direction of Ridley Scott, and an unbelievable cast, which includes Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. How did it all go so wrong? The only explanation I could muster is that each of these individuals came together and thought they were doing a completely different movie because none of this works.
On some level, it shows a story about greed on the part of The Counselor, who gets referred to in this way for the entire length of the film, which must have been done for clever reasons but only further establishes the anonymity of this man. Some characters work with having no discernible name, but not even Fassbender could bring any sort of juice to this overly lifeless role. Going back to the story, it shows how he lives a good life and has the love of his fiance Laura (Penélope Cruz). What more could a man want in life? Apparently, he wants more, which goes to serve a lesson served with plenty of danger but the rest of the characters seem to have strolled in thinking they were in something else.
Javier Bardem portrays Reinier, an associate of The Counselor, who sports the most ridiculous haircut for a man we are meant to take seriously. His ridiculousness does not entirely stand out because he’s with Malkina (Cameron Diaz), who takes the cake for those who do not know what kind of money they’re in. Malkina used to be a call-girl but now, she has the connection of being with Reiner and now seeks even more power. The type of character that would add intrigue to the story if not for the completely off-putting performance of Diaz. Reader, there is a scene where she tries to sexually arouse Reiner and does so by masturbating on the windshield of his car. I know what you may be thinking, “How would that be sexy?” If you’re intrigued how in the world they pull it off, I’ll tell you it turns into one of the most strange and weirdly uncomfortable scenes I have ever seen. When I say, it made me question whether or not I actually like movies, it’s the truth. I appreciate actors who truly go for it in their roles, but this reached a level of depravity I could barely watch. This moment surely shows the worst of this film, but it becomes emblematic of its larger issue, with it being a completely aimless film. Characters and motives get introduced with some sort of significance that never truly pay off in any meaningful way. It’s simply a movie trying to provide shock and awe for the audience without earning a second of it.
The reason I’m giving this film my lowest grade is not just because of how terrible it is, but also due to how nothing remotely logical occurs. It never reaches a level of it being so bad it becomes good in a ridiculous way. The Counselor simply proves to be a vapid and meaningless film somehow put together by some of the biggest talents in cinema. I’m still having trouble understanding how everything went wrong in this movie, but I can firmly say The Counselor stands as one of the worst films I have ever seen.