Friday, November 1 2013, 11:38 AM MDT
Movie Review: The Counselor
2 out of 5 Stars
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Recommended To: Those obsessed with Cormac McCarthys prose, even if it feels out of place in a sluggish film that fails to match the authors novels.
Synopsis: A lawyer (Michael Fassender) decides to make some extra money by becoming part of a drug trafficking ring.
Review: Novelist Cormac McCarthy's books have often been called unfilmable because they are so dense and overly philosophical. Nonetheless Joel and Ethan Coen were able to make a masterpiece with their adaptation of No Country for Old Men and despite a few flaws I found John Hillcoat's adaption of The Road to be a deeply moving film. In both cases a large amount of the success should be credited to the Coen Brothers' and Joe Penhall's scripts because they were able to bring the plot to the forefront while keeping a sense of McCarthy's weighty prose intact. Unfortunately The Counselor, which is an original screenplay by McCarthy, fails to do the same as McCarthy's script often strays into lengthy monologues that would work wonderfully in a novel, but just feel unnatural and too long in the film. The story itself is surprisingly generic as well. Remove the over-blown monologues and the film is essentially the same cautionary story of excess, drugs, greed and violence that Hollywood has been churning out for ages.
The films cast does its best to navigate and communicate the dialogue given and ultimately only Cameron Diaz fails to convincingly grasp the words (she should have had Ruben Blades tutor her). But even fine performances cant save The Counselor. Its too awkward and strangely inhuman.
-Ryan Michael Painter