Movie Review: “The Counselor” is a disastrous disappointment

Vincent Schultz, Asst. A&E Editor

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Anyone who has watched movies throughout their life has seen at least one movie that redefines catastrophe.In a movie like that, there’s usually several indicators that the film will be great; an all-star cast, an innovative director, and a gripping plot. Yet when the film cuts to black and the credits begin to role, the audience is left stunned, thinking “Is that really it?”M. Night Shyamalan has mastered this technique of disappointing the masses with films like “After Earth” and “The Happening,” yet when I sat down to watch “The Counselor,” I had no idea that two short hours later, I would experience that same level of shock and disappointment.“The Counselor” stars Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt. Directed by Ridley Scott, the film depicts a lawyer in over his head, becoming involved in a dangerous drug trafficking deal gone wrong.The story involves a successful, yet greedy lawyer known simply as “The Counselor” (Fassbender). As a successful attorney recently engaged to girlfriend Laura (Cruz), The Counselor still feels a desire to gain more success and money.

Through a friendship with underground kingpin Reiner (Bardem), his mysterious girlfriend Malkina (Diaz), and his associate Westray (Pitt), the Counselor attempts to fulfill his desires by delving into the world of drug trafficking. Though all goes well at first, when the cargo inexplicably vanishes, the Counselor and his contacts are suspected and must prove their innocence or disappear.

On paper, “The Counselor” had all the aspects of a hit film: an all-star cast, an acclaimed director, a good concept. Unfortunately, despite these promising notions, “The Counselor” manages to fail on almost every level.

One of the film’s greatest downfalls is the lack of fleshed out characters. Despite the heavy casting plastered on every single poster,with the exception of the Counselor, each character’s scenes are too scattered throughout the film, prohibiting the audience from seeing any real development between them.

Another major setback is the overabundance of explicit material in the movie. When making a film about drug cartels and things of that nature, violence and sexual content is to be expected. However, the amount of vividly graphic sexual material is too often and far too outrageous to be taken seriously.

With a critically acclaimed director Ridley Scott, one would think this film would be a guaranteed success. Films like “Alien,” “Blade Runner,” and “Black Hawk Down” all had major impacts on cinema today, yet none of that originality and promise is seen in this film. Instead, the movie plays as a traditional thriller, adding unnecessary twists and turns wherever possible, leading up to one of the most lackluster endings of the year.

I’m giving “The Counselor” 2/5 kernels.

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