Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Review: The Counselor (2013)
I Wouldn't Be So Quick To Sign Up For A Session With This 'Counselor'
I remember when this came out in the theaters, I originally thought of catching this but instead after the reviews came out, chose to see Captain Phillips instead. After I finally saw this, I feel like fate didn't want me to actually spend money on it as while it isn't exactly terrible, I still wouldn't call it great.
The Counselor follows the story of an unnamed lawyer named "Counselor" (Michael Fassbender) who starts to get in way over his head when he takes part in a drug deal with a partner named Reiner (Javier Bardem). Once things go from bad to worse, Counselor's girlfriend Laura (Penelope Cruz) gets involved, as well as Reiner's mysterious girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz).
What I Liked About It:
One thing that I thought was neat was the significance of cheetahs. There are different scenes of several cheetahs that Malkina uses as pets and I think that they are a symbol for her as well as the predatory nature of the different characters who come at each other's throats. Speaking of Malkina, I thought Cameron Diaz did a brilliant job portraying her and capturing her enigmatic nature. Even though she doesn't physically alter herself entirely, you still probably wouldn't recognize her since Diaz completely plays against type and I would definitely love to see her do more dramatic films like this. I also thought the grainy direction by Ridley Scott was quite fabulous as well as the cinematography.
What I Didn't Like About It:
One thing I really didn't like was, through no fault of the actors, how underdeveloped the characters were written. Penelope Cruz is given next to nothing to do. Brad Pitt, who is also in this, is nothing more than a plot device who pops up when the film needs him to and advises Counselor not to go through the whole thing. Javier Bardem is just served as a sidekick who mostly just looks concerned and Michael Fassbender is just a simple anti-hero that we know nothing about. It was nice that Cameron Diaz was given a meaty role to work with, but all the other actors were just given roles that were "whatever" in my opinion. They did the best they could with what they were given, but still.
I also thought that even though the film tries to convey themes about greed and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is kind of a "been there, done that" here.. I feel like we have seen that kind of story before and this film doesn't really offer us anything new. I don't really feel this film offers anything at all because nothing really happens.
Overall, The Counselor is a well-directed yet incoherent film that does next to nothing with its all-star cast. On paper, you think this would be a slam dunk, but not necessarily. I would say, even if you do like anyone from the cast, don't rush out to rent it or watch it on TV. Hopefully, if you do watch The Counselor, you won't want to go to therapy.