Review Roundup: THE COUNSELOR is Packed with Stars, Does It Stand Up?
Review Roundup The Counselor
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, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. 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 one-time dalliance with an illegal business deal spirals out of control. (c) Twentyth Century Fox
Let's see what the critics have to say...
Peter Debruge, Variety: "Whatever his strengths in print, McCarthy clearly doesn't understand how drama and suspense work onscreen, pouring most of his efforts into crafting impenetrably baroque conversations between loosely sketched stereotypes, wrongheadedly convinced that confusion and a growing sense of dread are sufficient to keep us riveted. "
Kenneth Turan, LA Times: "Unfortunately, McCarthy's words are at their weakest in the film's opening scene in an El Paso bedroom, where the counselor and Laura are discovered under the sheets in the middle of a marathon session of l'amour. The dialogue between them is frank, adult and so unconvincing that it's an embarrassment the film never recovers from."
Peter Howell, Toronto Star: "Pay close attention to an early scene where Reiner and Malkina are watching their cheetahs chase jackrabbits, skilled hunters versus defenceless prey. There's a human analogy here. One of the many pleasures of The Counselor is trying to figure out which of the characters is a rabbit and which is a cheetah."
Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times: "All of this, playing out against a backdrop of ever-shifting locations (the film is set mostly along the Texas-Mexico border but, intriguingly, was shot entirely in England and Spain), should have made for riveting viewing, particularly with the reliable Ridley Scott directing and Cormac McCarthy writing the original screenplay. But "The Counselor," disappointingly, plays like a long series of striking yet enigmatic scenes, without enough story to hold them together. "
Rafer Guzman, Newsday: "The actors try to shine through this murk (Bardem and Pitt almost succeed), but there's no digging out from under McCarthy's script, written in an ear-halting mix of Biblical brimstone, arcane verbiage and Philosophy 101. Filmmakers have successfully wrestled his novels onto the screen (the Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men," John Hillcoat's "The Road") by paring them down and locating the visual ideas within, but Scott ("Alien," "Blade Runner") oddly does the opposite. Scott simply lets the characters talk, talk, talk. They describe death and sex and torture in flowery, thesaurus-driven prose ("surety," "easeful"), while all we see are their yakking faces."