The Counsellor (2013)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama, Thriller


The Counsellor (2013) Poster

A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.

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5.3/10
91,189

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  • Michael Fassbender in The Counsellor (2013)
  • Javier Bardem in The Counsellor (2013)
  • Penélope Cruz in The Counsellor (2013)
  • Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem in The Counsellor (2013)
  • Michael Fassbender in The Counsellor (2013)
  • Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz at an event for The Counsellor (2013)

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Cast & Crew

Top Billed Cast



Director:

Ridley Scott

Writer:

Cormac McCarthy

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


26 October 2013 | ghost_dog86
7
| I'm not a contrarian, but…
With a star studded cast, featuring the likes of Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt, and directed by Ridley Scott, with a script from one of the greatest American novelists alive, Cormac McCarthy, obviously I went to see "The Counselor" on face value alone. Admittedly, aside from the fact that this is not a very cinematic endeavor, the first half of this film is pretty bad. That is to say the first act and a half is far too cryptic for its own good, with dialogue that is in love with its own double entendres and lines which sound as though they would be more at home in a novel than spoken aloud by human beings. But, if you're patient enough to stay with this film until the second hour, you will be rewarded by witnessing how McCarthy and Scott weave this almost action-less tale together, quietly guiding audiences into a brilliantly disturbing and hypnotic finale.

The performances (the standout coming from Bardem) are all fine here. These are all great actors, so what else would you expect? Same goes for the direction. The wildcard with "The Counselor" was always McCarthy's transition from novel to feature film scriptwriting; a transition that was a first act failure on the grounds of dialogue alone. In that same breath, his high caliber story of a lawyer who gets involved in drug trafficking and his masterful construction redeems him almost entirely by the time it's all said and done.

As I alluded to before, there is not much action here, which may give the illusion to some that sequences are occurring but nothing is progressing, which may also promote watch checking. But within this conversation based film, as much as I would have preferred the dialogue to have been handled with more subtlety, the subtext is always interesting, gaining its momentum from the converging stories within the second half.

Final Thought: "The Counselor" is the film equivalent of an artichoke. You either like it or you don't. And both are understandable. Maybe one day, once all of the critical heat dies down, history will look more kindly on this movie. But for now, there will be flaws within it that a majority of mainstream audiences just won't be able to forgive.

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Metacritic Reviews


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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cameron Diaz's character Malkina is Argentinian in Cormac McCarthy's screenplay. The country of origin was changed to Barbados for the film. This decision was seemingly made to better fit Diaz' physical appearance to her character's ethnicity.


Quotes

Laura: Are you awake?
Counselor: No. What time is it?
Laura: Two o'clock. Almost two o'clock.
Counselor: AM or PM?


Goofs

(at around 50 mins) When Malkina is driving the yellow Ferrari California on the golf course, the cables used for the internal cabin lights are clearly visible going through Reiner's passenger door.


Alternate Versions

The 'Unrated Extended Cut' is 20 minutes longer than the 'Theatrical Cut'(117 min.) and runs nearly 138 minutes. It features new scenes, extended scenes and a little alternative footage. Some scenes are extended substantially, for example the philosophical dialogue between the Counselor and the Diamond Dealer and between the Counselor and the Cartel Leader. In this version the Diamond Dealer is characterized as a Sephardic Jew from Spain with a tragic past involving a deceased woman. The Cartel Leader's extended monologue gains nearly apocalyptic qualities. The sex scene at the beginning is longer and contains stronger sexual activity from Laura. The sexually ambiguous relationship between Laura and Malkina is explored deeper in an additional scene. Reiner tells more anecdotes about his former girlfriends, friends and what he 'learned' about women. The dialogue scenes with Westray contain more details about the unpredictable dangers of the drug trade. The notorious death scene of Westray is extended and more graphic. The 'Unrated Extended Cut' contains in general more profanity and sexual references than the R-rated 'Theatrical Cut'.


Soundtracks

Territorio
Written by
Camilo Lara
Performed by Instituto Mexicano de Sonido (as Mexican Institute of Sound)
Courtesy of Nacional Records

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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