The headline to this post is one hundred percent true, but it comes with an addendum: Why Would You Want To? Making sense of a bad movie doesn’t make it better.
And that’s what this is. A Bad Movie.
Sure it looks good, why wouldn’t it? It is a Ridley Scott movie, he could hire the best location scouts and cinematographers in the world. Hell, he got a pretty cool cast together: This movie stars Toby Kebell, Goran Visnjic, Natalie Dormer, Édgar Ramírez, Bruno Ganz, Penelope Cruz and Rosie Perez — in the bit parts. The title character is played by Michael Fassbender, and he is joined in his shenanigans by Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem. Cameron Diaz plays Malkina, possibly the only interesting character in this whole movie. Think of her as this movie’s Anton Chigurh (from No Country For Old Men, both movies being based on Cormac McCarthy text and all), and you’ll get a sense of how crazy she is.
But all of it doesn’t add up to much of anything.
The plot is super simple: The Counselor (Fassbender) has placed himself at the centre of a major drug deal, possibly to enable him to continue to maintain his expensive lifestyle. Reiner (Bardem) and Westray (Pitt) are involved but at different levels of immersion. Malkina on the other hand is the outsider — the girlfriend (Reiner’s) — who is keeping an eye on everything. She marches to her own beat and is cold as cold can be. As is often the case in movies like this, the shipment falls into the wrong hands, and The Counselor and his mates are running for their lives.
There are a couple of cool action sequences in this movie, but it also feels like those were the moments when the director and the editor knew what they had to convey, and they did so effectively.
The famed ‘sex with a car’ scene on the other hand, is total bullshit designed to foster audience curiosity. It also comes across as the effort of a writer seeking to out-crazy his previous work.
Nice try, but no thanks.
I don’t know if the Pulitzer Prize-winning author was available for consulting on the screenplay when it was time to film, because it appears that the actors are thoroughly unsure of what to do with the words on the page. The screenwriter may have assumed that the histories of the characters are clear but you only need to look into the eyes of any one of the actors to see that they are struggling to add meaning to scenes they haven’t necessarily understood. Which is a shame.
And a waste.
Final Analysis: The Counselor appears to be a messy tale when in truth it is just a badly told one.
My Advice: Skip it, and watch some of Tony Scott’s old movies instead.