Better than expected

by Nav Qateel

Writer of The Counselor, Cormac McCarthy’s latest book-to-film adaptation was certainly better than half the “critics” would have you believe. I found the quad-Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men to indeed be good, but far from worthy of all the praise that was doled out by these very same people. “Overrated,” about sums up my feelings on that subject. Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, on the other hand, may not be faultless and it was perhaps a more serene experience than some had hoped for, given the extremes that were in this film, but I found this to be better on the palate in many ways and thought this had as much impact as the Coen’s movie.

Where No Country for Old Men was maybe better than this were in the performances by certain thespians, but that’s not to say this ensemble were any less great. Only that the cast didn’t get the chance to show their chops as well because there was a broader stage and the fact it was an ensemble.

Michael Fassbender plays a character known only as the Counselor, who gets in over his head with the drug cartel after only just buying in to the business. He inadvertently becomes a pariah to his new acquaintances and hunted by the suppliers after $20 million worth of product goes missing. The Counselor has also just gotten engaged to the stunning Laura (Penélope Cruz) but now things turn very bad for the pair.

The Counselor
Directed by
Ridley Scott
Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt
Release Date
25 October 2013
Nav’s Grade: B

Fassbender’s performance was as good as I’ve seen from him, although, I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave, where I’m told he’s at his best. Bardem, Cruz and Pitt were also solid in their respective roles, but my favorite was easily, the normally bubbly, Cameron Diaz, who was excellent as the conniving Malkina. Malkina was the girlfriend of Reiner (Bardem), who has about the most interesting and strangest sex scene I’ve ever witnessed. I’ve often heard of men being accused of having sex with a car but to see it ACTUALLY done by a woman was quite extraordinary. I expected a gearstick to be involved but I can confidently say it involves the outside of the car.

Ridley Scott has done a great job with The Counselor and continually produces good films, where even the unexceptional Prometheus kept me interested. The triple-Oscar-nominated director has little to prove to a humble writer such as myself but clearly others expect something uniquely brilliant from Scott each and every time, and are happy to hammer in the coffin-nails if it doesn’t meet their pretentious standards. I feel that this is a film you’ll need to really make your own minds up about and not rely on what others think, because the vote is split on this one. I wasn’t going to bother watching The Counselor, precisely because of this but was so glad I followed my instinct and not go by what the others thought.