Saturday, October 26, 2013

Legal Counsel (Film Review: The Counselor)

You know that time when you are watching something, and yo u are confused and it ends and you ask, "what just happened?" That seems to be the perfect description of my experience watching "The Counselor." There's such a dearth of (in my opinion) interesting movies for me to watch and the all-star cast here drew me to see this movie. Michael Fassbender. Penelope Cruz. Cameron Diaz. Brad Pitt. these are all marquee names, and they are well worth the money. Each one, especially Fassbender, give star performances. You can tell they try their amndest, and combined with their star power, they, in the words of Tim Gunn, "make it work."  And they almost succeed. Ultimately, the confusing, pretentious screenplay bogs then down, and the film, for me is more a miss. The worst thing about the movie? Cormac McCarthy's screenplay. I haven't read any of his novels, so I don't know if he usually makes his characters talk this way: flowery, vague, all generic life lesson mumbo jumbo. All you can think of is that normal people don't speak this way. Sure, he has peppered the movie with characters that are all vividly colored, but without a straight man in the center, it all becomes a muddled mess. You don't know who you are rooting for, and when each gets their fate, you don't care either way. Plus. the set up of the story takes half the movie hat if you aren't patient, apathy will take over. And the complex plot never really gels. I still don't know who did what and what happened in the end.  There's a lot of sex and violence here: Diaz has sex with a yellow convertible, and on the last eighth of the movie, it turns too gory for my taste. Director Ridley Scott keeps the action going, and he keeps you in suspense until the last frame, but you don't really understand how or why.

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