The Counsellor (18)
Dir. Ridley Scott
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Read the newspaper version of this review HERE
“I suspect that we are ill-formed for the path we have chosen.
Ill-formed and ill-prepared. We would like to draw a veil over all the blood and terror that have brought us to this place.
It is our faintness of heart that would close our eyes to all of that, but in so doing it makes of it our destiny... But nothing is crueler than a coward, and the slaughter to come is probably beyond our imagining...”
The Counsellor (Counselor if you’re American) is not alas the exposé life story of a UK Counsellor such as Kirsty Annable who I work with – but rather a dark, violent crime-and-punishment high stakes thriller. Ok, maybe not that different then!?
"The LST Counselling Dept's staff day out..."
Esteemed Brit director Ridley ‘Gladiator’ Scott brings his trademark visual flair to the screen with this the heavy-duty original screenplay by Cormac McCarthy. Blessed with a stunning triple A cast led by Michael ‘Prometheus’ Fassbender as a hotshot lawyer, only referred to as "counsellor" throughout the movie, he’s head over heals in love with Laura (Penélope Cruz still sizzlingly hot) who he plans to marry.
Unfortunately this counsellor has got himself into a bit of pickle financially and is gambling everything on a potentially life changing Colombian drug deal that could make him close to $20million. But with great potential wealth comes massive risk – drug cartels not being people to cross.
"Do you want to talk about your feelings?"
Also on hand are Reiner (Javier ‘Skyfall’ Bardem) who lives a very lavish lifestyle from ill-gotten gains, Malkina (Cameron Diaz ) his glamorous but untrustworthy girlfriend, and slightly dodgy adviser Westray (Brad Pitt).
Just how far the counsellor has drifted from any sense of normality or safety is clear as soon as the shipment he is banking on is stolen. What follows is a compelling narrative and dialogue heavy descent into ultra-violence and paranoia. The few action scenes are sparingly used but they pack a serious punch – especially one character death on the streets of London that will stay with you long after the credits role.
Cruz and Diaz bring counter balancing sexiness – with one playing the good woman and the other ungodly evil. Bardem and Pitt add decent scenery but The Counsellor is all about Fassbender who eats up every scene in some style.
This isn’t a film for everyone – it’s brutal and offensive in places but at heart it’s a meaty and thought provoking ‘crime does not pay’ cautionary tale.
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3.5 - Sin is a choice - but the wages of sin is death)...
Awesomeness öööö – grissly, hard action in places
Laughs ööö – darkly comic in places
Horror öööö – gets grim and offensive too
Babes öööö – Cruz and Diaz are backed up by Natalie 'Margaery Tyrell' Dormer
Spiritual Enlightenment -öö – evil has consequences
"Dormer helps The Counselor chose some stockings - this scene is from the trailer and not used in the movie itself"