The Counselor Review: A Thriller Without Any Thrills

What looked like a great crime film turned out be a disappointing thriller that seemed to be in love with itself.

There are many acclaimed directors in Hollywood, but few have a resume like Ridley Scott.

The director behind films such as Alien and Gladiator has proven to be a versatile filmmaker. Scott is not afraid to try something different.

So what happens when you pair this director with the man behind No Country For Old Men?

You get The Counselor.

Writer Cormac McCarthy created the story No Country for Old Men, which became a academy award winning movie in 2008. So when it was announced that McCarthy would be teaming up with Scott, film goers were excited.

The story of The Counselor deals with a lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who finds himself  in over his head when a drug trafficking scheme goes horribly wrong. Everyone involved suffers the consequences.

What seems like a thrilling story though turns out to the film’s weakest element.

It seems that McCarthy forgot that when writing a story, you need to have a good set up. It felt  like the film just throws you into the second act of a plot and it never explains itself.

Granted, the story is  not hard to understand. But how are audiences supposed to get a feel for the conflict if the dilemma is never established?

If anything saves The Counselor it is the cast.

Michael Fassbender plays the Counselor. Fortunately he brings his charisma to the part.

Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Brad Pitt fill the supporting cast. While the three don’t have show stealing performances, they still provided solid roles.

The problem here is not the cast, but the characters’ development. To put it simply, there was none.

Take Cameron Diaz as the man-eater Malkina for example. You can understand her character, however does Malkina progress as the film goes on? No!

This went for every character in the film. The Counselor may not have, or needed, likable characters, but an effort in their development would not have hurt.

While there are great scenes from Fassbender, Bardem and Pitt, there seems to be something missing in this thriller.

What is it? Well, that would be the thrills.

A thriller does not need to be an action flick, but you do expect to be on the edge of your seat occasionally.

That won’t happen with The Counselor.  The only scene that comes close to thrilling was when a motorist gets decapitated, but that was about  it.

With a director like Ridley Scott and a solid looking cast, The Counselor had so much potential.

But what we ended up with is a movie that lacks depth, creativity and grit.

Well, if anything, The Counselor is sexy looking! I suppose that counts for something.

Do yourself a favor and skip this “thriller”.

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Tim is an aspiring film critic looking to make an impact on the world wide web. Over the web, you can see Tim's works in several mediums. First is Tim's internet persona, Timdiana in the web series Timdiana the Reviews where the enduring critic reviews movies that should be questioned. Then there is Something Cinematic, the podcast (and now blog) for moviegoers by moviegoers. Not to mention all the reviews Tim' has written throughout the internet. All that Tim does is in the name is to provide viewers with something entertaining as well as informative. Has he succeeded? Well... he's working on it.