The Counselor

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

For someone in the upper echelons of the film community, Ridley Scott doesn’t half produce a lot of crap. For every good film he makes, there’s a steamer in his back pocket. He gives us Gladiator but he also gives us Hannibal. He gives us Blade Runner but he also gives us Legend. He gives us Black Hawk Down and Alien but he also gives us Robin Hood, GI Jane and Thelma and Louise. You never know where you stand with Sir Ridley.

The Counselor is firmly in the steamer category. It doesn’t possess one, single redeemable quality. The acting is horrible, the dialogue is atrocious, the plot makes no sense and it looks like shit. If anything, it looks more like a Tony Scott film from the 80s than a Ridley Scott movie. There’s plenty of smoke and backlighting.

But Ridley is desperately trying to make this into a glossy, luxurious, decadent crime epic. Instead it resembles a Ferrero Rocher commercial or some cheesy advert in the front pages of Vogue. For fuck’s sake, there’s a scene where Javier Bardem and Cameron Diaz are watching their pet cheetahs hunt prey in the desert. They’re decked out in designer safari outfits. These people are the two biggest assclowns in the history of the world. Forget Kim and Kanye, these two dickheads have them licked.

Compounding matters is the fact that Javier Bardem has a haircut that makes him look like Sonic the Hedgehog and that Cameron Diaz has a cheetah tattoo on her back along with a gold tooth and fingernails that look like claws. Do you get it? She’s a hunter like her pet cheetahs. She’s bad news. Subtle, no?

Just in case that wasn’t enough evidence for you to prove that Diaz’s character is a little touched in the head, there’s a scene where she fucks Javier Bardem’s car. Yeah, you’re reading that right. She fucks Javier Bardem’s car. Before you get ahead of me, no, she doesn’t have sex with the exhaust pipe or the gear stick. What are you, a fucking pervert or something? Geez. No, she decides to hump the windshield instead. Javier Bardem’s character watches in horror. He says that watching her rub herself on the glass was too gynecological to be sexy. He likens her pussy to a catfish. Charming image, no? But somehow, rather than hit the gas pedal and propel the crazy woman off his car, or take her home, say he has a headache and never return her calls, he continues to pursue a romantic relationship with this mentalist. A woman who fucked his car! A woman who did the splits, lifted up her skirt and humped his windshield. For me, that’s pretty high up on the list of reasons to break up a relationship. Cheating is bad, as is lying and stealing, but shagging a car is just weird and disturbing. Whats’ next? The TV? The oven? Random door handles? The cats?

Over time we’re supposed to get the idea that Diaz is some kind of evil genius. She attempts to steal some drugs from the Mexican drug cartel but then fucks up along the way. However, this doesn’t stop her from stealing the money she wants and brutally killing Brad Pitt’s character. In the final scene she mentions how hunters have grace, beauty and purity of heart. The film then ends with her saying that she’s famished. You see what she’s saying? She’s the hunter. She’s the one that’s pure of heart, she’s the one that’s beautiful. Wow, I spent two hours watching a bad thriller so that you can verbally wank yourself off.

It also cracks me that up that during this final scene, Diaz is sitting in a restaurant, wearing a hood. You can see that her male companion is shitting himself. ‘This woman is crazy. First of all she turns up for our date looking like Emperor Palpatine, now she’s talking about herself being a hunter. Can I escape before she gets her catfish out and humps the creme brulee?’

It doesn’t help that all of this egocentric nonsense is coming out of the mouth of Cameron Diaz. She doesn’t have an ounce of danger in her body. She doesn’t convey a shred of intelligence. Not for a single second do I think that she’s capable of any of this. This role would have demanded an actress much finer than her. Diaz just comes over as a cheap hood rat. Lots of the time she’s duck facing. And there’s one particularly hideous scene where she’s talking to Penelope Cruz about a diamond ring. She’s supposed to be imparting her vast knowledge. But instead she just sounds like a robot reading cue cards.

And what the hell is with her make-up? She doesn’t look like a cheetah. She looks like a panda with a fake tan. She’s painful to look at.

Something else that doesn’t sit well is the pointlessly contrived extreme violence. In one sequence, Diaz hires a couple of people to steal from the Mexican drug cartel. In order to get the drug cartel’s vehicle to work, she has to obtain a special component from a guy on a motorbike. The component is in his helmet. Now how would you go about stealing from this guy on a motorbike? Knock him off his bike with your car? Shoot him? Or drive miles and miles ahead of him and spend ages setting up a wire that will decapitate him? With this wire you have to spend lots of time measuring and you have to make sure that he drives down a particular road and you have to set it up at night so that he can’t see it. You also have to make sure that the guy looks up so that he can present his neck for you. To do this, you need to make sure to hit some car lights at the crucial moment. But surely this is the most logical option? Much better than shooting the guy and taking his helmet off. But yeah, these people do indeed set up this wire and his head does indeed roll.

Foreshadowing another bloody set-piece is a conversation between Javier Bardem and Michael Fassbender. Bardem tells The Counsellor about an innovative way to kill someone. He tells a story about a device that slowly garotes you. A wire is looped around someone’s head and then a motor slowly tightens the wire. Eventually it cuts through your neck and through your arteries. Again, as a method of execution, this seems to be a little fussy. Plus it lacks the personal touch. At least in the past some burly guy would have to huff and puff and use some muscle to kill you. This is the millennial way to kill someone - it’s like having a fucking app do it. Throw something over someone’s head, press a button and voila!

But you know that this machine is going to turn up later in the film and indeed it does. Brad Pitt is hiding out in London and Cameron Diaz gets one of her underlings to throw this thing over his head. Sure enough it tightens around his neck. And then as he tries to pull it off, the wire cuts through his fingers and chops them off before severing the arteries in his neck, leaving him to die in geysers of blood. Again, this just seems silly. It’s too contrived. Just shoot him with a silencer. What happened to the cool, civilised ways of killing someone?

I haven’t talked much about the story, have I? Or Michael Fassbender. It doesn’t matter. The story is complete nonsense, the dialogue is pretentious drivel and Michael Fassbender has nothing to do. He’s just an idiot patsy who gets what’s coming to him. Oh, wouldn’t it be a great idea, seeing as I’m a lawyer and already making lot of money, to suddenly get in the drug business? And to do business with the Mexican drug cartel. That sounds like the best idea in the history of the world. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Oh wait, everything’s gone wrong and my future wife has been kidnapped and they’ve made a snuff film where they behead her and she’s been dumped in a landfill. Who could have guessed?

Wait, this was written by Cormac McCarthy? Shit in my boots and call me a whore. How? Why? What...the...fuck?!?

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  1. You hit the nail on the head with this review. Though, I must admit, I got a pretty big kick out of Javier Bardem's ridiculous facial expressions during the car-sex scene.