Premise: Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Cormac McCarthy, The Counselor is a story about a lawyer only referred to as "Counselor," who gets tangled up in some sort of bad drug deal or something? Brad Pitt plays a cowboy or something? And Cameron Diaz thinks she's a cheetah or something? I'm going to be 100% honest with you, I couldn't tell you all the details of this convoluted story even if you threatened to decapitate me, which is something that happens like three times in this movie.
-Some scenes, like the "razor wire scene," were beautifully set up. All of the little nuances in this scene with the editing and camera work were perfect.
-On that note, Javier Bardem's character describes a device early in the film that decapitates people over the course of a few minutes that's impossible to take off in time. The whole movie you just wait for this device to actually be used, and when it shows up, it doesn't disappoint.
-Cameron Diaz has sex with the windshield of a Ferrari. Try and digest that sentence. Anyway, I've just described the three most memorable scenes in a movie full of bland meanderings. Those three scenes are brilliant scenes that would have been breathtaking moments in a much better movie (at least the two murders, the windshield scene was just bizarrely entertaining). In The Counselor, these moments just kind of simmer to the top as the only good things about it.
-I guess I enjoyed the bizarre visuals of having live cheetahs just sitting around for no reason. It was a comical visual gag in a movie that provided me with very few smiles.
-I have *no* idea what the point of this movie was.
-The writing is terrible. It's a verbose movie where characters are describing all of the interesting things that never actually get shown on camera. It's almost like the characters in The Counselor are just describing stuff they saw in the director's cut of The Counselor, where all the good parts were still left in. I mean, I get how some movies want the audience to connect the pieces, but then there's THIS. This is a movie that almost seemed *determined* to not actually show us any aspect of the plot. In one scene, Fassbender will be getting warnings of the danger of what's about to go down, and the next time we see him, people are telling him how badly things got messed up.
-To continue that point, I'm not sure *what* got messed up? This movie is so verbose and boring, that I think I spaced out several times and missed certain plot points that might have been important. At least I hope I did, for the movie's sake. Otherwise, this is a film full of giant holes. But I don't think me spacing out is my fault, that doesn't normally happen when I go to the theater. It only happens when a film tries really hard to test my patience.
-The acting is kind of bland. Brad Pitt doesn't bring much to the table. Cameron Diaz is trying way too hard to be a femme fatale. I think she was hoping for an Oscar (don't think that's going to happen). Also, she says she's from the Caribbean, but doesn't have anything of an accent, and then insults people for being American for some reason. She somehow had the most interesting character out of a pile of frustrating jerks.
-I didn't see how the sexual angle played into the actual plot of the film, which was about the consequences of dealing with the wrong people. I think? The constant sexual undertone just felt like a pretentious tangent that added 30 minutes onto the movie. Like, what the hell was the purpose of Cameron Diaz going to church confession? Was she getting a thrill out of it? I'm not sure, because they don't ever mention anything about it ever again. Is it that sex controls every aspect of life, which ultimately leads to the downfall of the drug deal? Was Penelope Cruz's awkward innocence what trips up the sexual karma? I DON'T KNOW. I JUST DON'T.
-On the subject of random scenes that don't have any real significance to anything... what was the deal with the two-minute scene with Dean Norris and John Leguizamo? I... don't get... ummmm... why that was in the movie? And why I should have cared about those characters? And where's the Schraderbrau?
-I DON'T KNOW WHY ANYTHING IN THIS MOVIE HAPPENED THE WAY IT DID. I feel like I barely know who any of the characters actually were, or their relation to each other. My best take on the moral of this story is, "You're screwed, bro. Sucks to be you."
Final Thoughts: Ya know, at least with a movie like After Earth, you know exactly what's dumb about it. The Counselor is one of those movies where you're not even sure what you hate about it. If ambiguous hatred is what Cormac McCarthy brings to the table with his original screenplays, then maybe the dude should just stick to books.
4 out of 10
After reading some other reviews and a script excerpt of the Ferrari scene, I'm going to avoid the theatre and the aquarium section of the pet store for a while.
Weird. I read an article at Entertainment Weekly where the writer desparatley tries to make sense of the car-sex scene and the entire movie.
My favorite of his attempts to explain the Diaz scene-
"3. It’s a subtle hint that The Counselor is a prequel to Cars....Presumably, the four-hour director’s cut of The Counselor will strengthen this theory when we finally get to see the scene where Cameron Diaz has sex with a plane."
His suggestion at the end of the article about what the movie is really about is priceless as well.
I enjoyed how the writer pointed out an observation I didn't realize until he said it: that even the characters in the film acknowledge the fact that car sex scene makes no sense and serves no purpose.
"What does it mean?"
"Something. Everything. Nothing. I don’t know."
I'm pretty sure that's a verbatim line from the movie! It's almost like Ridley Scott and/or Cormac McCarthy just really wanted to see a woman have sex with a car, and they were going to put it in their next project no matter what.
I imagine Ridley had Sir Mix-A-Lot on repeat playing in the background when they thought of this scene.