I found it incredibly hard to concentrate on The Counselor. I can tell you quite a bit about the wonderful landscape shots and the cool camera work, but I hardly remembered what had happened as I was watching. Two thoughts kept bugging me: first, the amount of neat shots of Fassbender was perfect; second, why are these people in this film? Pitt, Fassbender, Cruz, Bardem… I want the intensity of Shame, I want the genius of Fight Club, I want those actors in great films. And I want Ridley Scott making films that leave you breathless like Alien or Blade Runner. I want no talent to be wasted.
Because that’s what The Counselor is — living up to the “it’s all shit” quote, the film disappoints over and over again, with only a handful of bright moments. This is not nothing happening like in a Sofia Coppola film, because what happens is loud and flashy, yet lacks charm. The minutes roll by slow and uninteresting and the word thriller seems inappropriate.
There are two events that intrigued me: the infamous car hood scene with Diaz, which made me laugh out loud and remains my favourite scene; and the leopards. I liked how random the leopards felt, and it fit well with the film’s tone, long after I had given up on it and accepted that I’d committed to two hours of wasted time.
Fassbender is a great actor, that has been established, but even with him in the shot and doing the talking, the dialogues between characters were boring. I felt nothing as Fassbender was talking on phone and crying, and before The Counselor, I would have thought that was impossible. That final Pitt scene almost made me throw up and I don’t remember anything happening after that.
I liked Diaz, by the way. I found her performance intriguing and her character at least a bit interesting — which is more than could be said about most of the others. The Counselor was just as unforgettable and uneventful as American Hustle, yet I’ve always thought O’Russell and Scott are light years away from each other. Yet both have created some grade A bullshit. Go figure.