As Dirty Harry said, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” Unfortunately, the Counselor (Michael Fassbender) in Director Ridley Scott’s new film The Counselor did not get the message. And, while he did heed Nancy Reagan’s, “Don’t do drugs,” he didn’t understand the corollary, “Don’t sell drugs.”
This gristly movie about greed, once again, proves that you can hire great actors like Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz, but, if you don’t have a good script, you won’t have much.
If the story is weak, a good actor can shine, but, if the dialogue is bad, it’s hard to get around it. Bardem does, occasionally, as when he tells the story of Malkina (Diaz) making love with (not “in”) his Ferrari. (By the way, this flashback, which has little, if anything, to do with the story, is the highlight of the film.)
The problem is Writer Cormac McCarthy has his characters speaking lines so affected and unnatural that he might as well have turned their dialogue into iambic pentameter. Here, even drug kings give heavy philosophic speeches on morality. You either lose the thread of what someone is trying to say through all the verbiage or laugh because it sounds so ridiculous.
Production values are slick, however. Dariusz Wolski’s Cinematography is excellent. as is Arthur Max’ Production Design. And, Penélope Cruz has never looked more beautiful.
If you have a strong stomach and want to see the world of the “Others,” you’ll enjoy parts of this ghastly story where the most innocent die and evil wins out in the end. But, if you’re looking for entertainment and want to have a good night’s sleep afterwards, see something more uplifting…like Carrie.
I give The Counselor a 2+ out of 5.