Opening this weekend is The Counselor. From its official synopsis:
Legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott and Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) have joined forces in the motion picture thriller THE COUNSELOR, starring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz. McCarthy, making his screenwriting debut and Scott interweave the author’s characteristic wit and dark humor with a nightmarish scenario, in which a respected lawyer’s dalliance with the drug business spirals out of control.
I usually like Ridley Scott films. Michael Fassbender is one of my favorite actors going today. I like Brad Pitt too. With a huge cast, a famous director and famous writer, you’d think this movie would get a huge push, lots of marketing and tons of buzz. Well there’s a reason it’s not making waves, it’s kinda bad. It’s not awful per se, but it’s rather uneventful at times and I don’t know if I truly got it or maybe I was expecting to get something that wasn’t there. I think that’s the problem and I’ll explain in it a bit.
I’ll start with the positives. Michael Fassbender is great. That’s pretty much a line written about every movie he’s in now, but honestly, he’s a fantastic actor. He plays the counselor and well that’s all he’s known as. Even when in scenes with his significant other (played by Cruz), he’s never given a name. Fassbender is a good looking guy, he captures that lawyer swagger perfectly.
Hmm, ok, I think that’s all I have for positives because the movie is pretty much a mess. Cruz’s character doesn’t go anywhere I expected it. I expected so much more from her character and some kind of surprise twist that never happens. Diaz has more of an arc and because of that I expected Cruz to have a similar one. Instead it’s a pretty flat, one note character.
And speaking of Diaz, Johnny Knoxville humping a soda machine in Bad Grandpa might not be the oddest inanimate object to get made love to this weekend. I don’t want to give it away, but Diaz gives you a reason to always keep windshield washer fluid in your trunk. That’s another thing I didn’t get about the film. What was all the sex/love stuff a metaphor for? What didn’t I get? The film opens with Fassbender and Cruz doing something that really didn’t seem necessary in the film and there’s sex talk throughout especially from Diaz. What am I missing? Is it a religious thing because of a religious tone in the film? Help me out here.
And while you’re at it, what was the significance of the cheetahs? Why was the neck slicing machine explained so much when you knew it was going to get used later on? Why were Dean Norris, Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo and Goran Visnjic in this as characters that you or I could have played? Even Brad Pitt’s character didn’t necessarily need someone of Pitt’s significance in it. Pitt does a solid job with it, but with Fassbender and Javier Bardem as the two leads, Pitt seems unnecessary in that role.
I’m a person who enjoys dialogue in film. I write a lot of it myself in my own projects. But I like dialogue when it serves a purpose to an actual story. This movie is basically dialogue with the occasional scene. Mixed in with all the talking about sex and women is a guy getting decapitated so a shipment of drugs could be stolen. Why even bother having such a violent scene in a movie like this? If it was just a straight forward drug film with a lawyer caught in the middle, sure go nuts. Cut off all the heads. Dump all the bodies in the trash, but don’t mix all of it together because it simply doesn’t work. The film is just one big swing and a miss for me. People will claim to love it and that it’s groundbreaking, but the average movie goer will hate it and don’t expect it to do much at the box office.