Friday, 22 November 2013

The Counselor Review

From director Ridley Scott and Pulitzer prize winner Cormac McCarthy comes The Counselor a film about greed and the consequences of ones actions. The Counselor starts as a character only known as The Counselor enters into a drug trafficking arrangement. Many may immediately take issue with The Counselor as it doesn't explain how The Counselor is involved and is shown to have little knowledge of the exact workings of the deal. But to do so would be to miss what The Counselor is striving for. The Counselor at its core is not a film about drug trafficking rather it is a film about how the decisions of today can effect tomorrows decisions and the horrific consequences that they can eventually lead to.

The Counselor is an unapologetically slow film that despite being classified as a thriller provides for little to no thrills. This in of itself isn't an issue and I quite enjoyed watching the consequences of the various characters actions slowly unfold on screen and how they react in a desperate attempt of self preservation. This is especially helped throughout by the performances which are mostly sublime throughout with Michael Fassbender as The Counselor Brad Pitt as Westray being particular highlights. Those however looking for the film to delve into the Drug Trafficking beyond a very cursory surface glance will likely be disappointed.

The most notable issue present with The Counselor is the quality of the writing which varies dramatically from scene to scene. Some dialogue is razor sharp and often impressively oblique, however other lines are borderline laughable. Thankfully the razor sharp lines overwhelm the relatively small portions of poor writing. None the less the borderline laughable dialogue is accentuated by the serious tone the film maintains throughout and whilst some of the actors and actresses are able to make some of the more egregious dialogue work, others simply come across with delivery that simply fells off. Characters motivations are also in most cases only surface deep which leads the film lacking the impact it so clearly is striving for. Thankfully The Counsleor himself has enough relatable albeit simple motivation behind his greed to keep the films slow but ever present forward momentum present.

The Counsellor is a film that with its at time ponderous pacing, lack of thrills and at times inconsistent writing has the signs of disaster written all over it. Despite this I found the majority of performances coupled with the at times oblique writing to provide for a fresh change of pace and compelling narrative. Hence whilst The Counselor doesn't come with the strongest of recommendations it still comes recommended for those who enjoy a slowly paced dialogue heavy film and are not looking for the edge of your seat thriller it was advertised as.

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