Under the encouraging from a man, Reiner (Javier Bardem), who keeps cheetahs around his mansion, The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) decides to get himself tangled in a cocaine deal that, well, won’t end well for most of those involved. Those also involved include The Counselor’s girl Laura (Penélope Cruz), Reiner’s girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz) and businessman Westray (Brad Pitt).
The Counselor has one of the best casts of the year. Add to that director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Cormac McCarthy and The Counselor should be a guaranteed compeller. And yet, it seems to constantly be threatening to be a parody of what it could have been.
There are the guys in slick suits, the girls in sexy dresses, the cars that shine like diamonds. And there’s Fassbender going through the motions, Bardem sporting yet another wacky hairstyle, Diaz humping a windshield, and, well, what else do you need to know? This is the sort of movie that thinks it will qualify as “cool” just because the cast is hip and cocaine is a plot element.
But it’s an annoyance. McCarthy, who is certainly capable of penning a brilliant novel, demonstrates here that film just isn’t his medium. (Forget that No Country for Old Men, The Road and others were turned in major motion pictures; his first original screenplay is no reflection of those adaptations.) He fills his script not with depth, but with characters who think every line of dialogue they spout is important; worse, every actor recites them like they actually are.
Unrated Extended Cut (138 minutes)
Truth of the Situation: Making The Counselor (3:36:01) combines both an audio commentary (with director/producer Ridley Scott) and featurettes (“Tragic Consequences,” “A Different Southwest,” “The Counselor,” “Pool Party,” “Reiner,” “Laura,” “Malkina,” “Polo Club,” “Lensing the Dark World,” “Westray,” “Downward Spiral,” “The Cheetahs,” “The Bolito”) to offer an incredibly thorough look at the making of the movie.
Viral Pieces: Uncut (7:29): There are three short pieces here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Laura,” “The Counselor” and “Malkina and Reiner.”