The Counsellor – review: all star cast doesn’t make good counsel

Posted on 18 November 2013
By Charlie Elgar
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An all-star cast often means one of two things; first the movie is a complete success and our expectations are met or, the actors fail to live up to our exceptionally high standards, leaving the film to fall flat on its face.

Sadly for director Ridley Scott and his latest film The Counsellor, the latter applies.

Under the direction of the man who brought us modern greats such as Gladiator and Blade Runner, his latest release The Counsellor falls unsettlingly short of his previous calibre. Starring Hollywood hunnies Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz, alongside an eclectic combination of Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt, the phrase “too many cooks spoils the broth” springs to mind.

Fassbender sits in the driving seat of this film playing the lead role as a lawyer – otherwise known as The Counsellor. Madly in love with his exotic wife to be Laura (Penelope Cruz), of course along with his shiny new Bentley, materialistic greed takes control as he becomes part of a drug trafficking scam for millions of dollars.

Along the way we encounter Fassbender’s fellow celebs who seem to be relying on their name as opposed to their talent, in fact showing quite a lack of this said ‘talent’, in what can only be described as rather shallow acting –admittedly hindered however, by the films hollow and slightly confused storyline.

Written by Cormac McCarthy, the man behind the novels The Road and No Country for Old Men, the storyline lacks depth and clarity, as it is sometimes difficult to determine who is against who – and for what reason. Sadly for McCarthy, The Counsellor may be that small yet unmissable scratch on what is ultimately a finely polished CV.

There are numerable sexual scenes throughout the movie, the most memorable of those presenting the feisty Cameron Diaz having her way with a Ferrari, as Javier Bardem looks on from the passenger seat – yes, this scene is open to interpretation.

Scenes such as these render me with a question that I have for the overall film – what is the point? Nearing the end of the overly long run-time, I became bored and started to feel as if it was a chore.

This is a classic case of don’t judge a book (or film in this case), by its cover – you may be disappointed. Yes, this movie will succeed in getting people into the cinema, purely for the faces you’ll see on the billboards. However, viewers are more than likely to have their expectations crushed and deflated by the time they leave the screening.