The Counselor (2013) – Movie Review

A woman having sex with a car. A guy shaking a decapitated head out of a motorcycle helmet. A man getting killed by an automatic strangling device. All this and more in ‘The Counselor’, an over-the-top movie about a lawyer getting involved in a shady drugs deal that inevitably goes terribly wrong.

Apart from these extreme scenes, the cast is the main attraction of the movie. Top notch Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem and Cameron Diaz are playing weird characters. They are all living in a world full of beautiful people, driving expensive cars and living in design interiors.

Add to this some dialogues full of absurd wisecracks like ‘The truth has no temperature’, and you get a film that could be great. With these ingredients, ‘The Counselor’ could have been an ultra cool film, something like a crossing between Tarantino and the Coen Brothers.

But somehow, it all doesn’t add up. For one thing, the plot is never completely clear. I tried to connect the dots, but I didn’t succeed. This is not in all cases a problem. In a film like ‘Syriana’ the plot was also hazy, but this didn’t bother me. As long as you go along with the general mood of a film, it’s not a problem when some elements are not spelled out. But in this case, too much is left unexplained.

And then there is the dialogue. There is a lot of it. Some of it is witty and sharp. Unfortunately, there are also lengthy monologues full of heavy philosophical thoughts, which are completely unbelievable and not helping the film in any way. Writer Cormac McCarthy failed in this respect. This film has some fine moments, but it is unbalanced and doesn’t reach its full potential.

 

6 out of 10 stars

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