Customer Review

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When you play with rattlesnakes..., 15 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Counsellor [DVD] (DVD)
Some people can never have enough money and a handsome and successful legal Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is one of them. After proposing to his girlfriend, Laura (Penelope Cruz) and buying her a diamond rock as big as Gibraltar, he involves himself in the seedy world of drug running. Despite warnings from Reiner (Javier Bardem) an excessive and ebullient man with whom the Counselor wants to set up business, and warnings from drug middle man, Westray (Brad Pitt), about the ruthless people the Counselor is about to do business with, he chooses to ignore them, wrapped as he is in his cosy world of denial. As a counsellor who is often personally involved in obtaining, or taking away, the freedom of others, he thinks he is untouchable. However, his refusal to take wise counsel himself leads him to experience a whole new world of murder and revenge that he simply cannot escape from.

The Counselor (2013) has received very mixed reviews and I suspect a lot of people don't like it, not just because of the violence (and lack of 'real' action by way of explosions and people swinging from helicopters), but that it is very 'wordy'. I found it mesmeric from the start. Actually, the start is a rather steamy sexual scene between Fassbender and Cruz which managed, somehow, not to be offensive. The more offensive scenes, at least to many, came later and I'd be lying if I didn't say that some of the violence was graphic to say the least but I felt it was in keeping with the storyline rather than done for the shock-factor. When you play with rattlesnakes, you can expect to get bitten.

There's a lot of dialogue in The Counselor which some viewers will not like. Personally, I loved it, particularly that of Javier Bardem's story-telling character who was totally charismatic even though a little off the wall. Once again Penelope Cruz played the nave and gentle woman and I should think by now that she would be dying to play a bad girl, but that role went to Cameron Diaz who is often in that role. I won't mention here what she did to her lover's car's windscreen but it's not something you'd witness every day, thank goodness.

The movie's format reminds me somewhat of Traffic (2000) and Crash (2004). By that I mean that it skips around a fair bit between scenes and characters. Personally, I like this style of movie-making as long as the individual scenes keep me interested and make sense and link together to make a coherent whole. The cinematography is superb and those two cheetahs owned by Reiner (Bardem) were sleek and elegant creatures and I could have happily watched just those two for the length of the movie.

Did I like this movie? I did. But I'm glad that world is not mine.

VJ - Movies and Books World
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Mar 2014 10:25:00 GMT
Timelord007 says:
Great review Valerie, Bit full on in this movie at times but very well acted.

Nice informative review.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2014 08:25:33 GMT
Valerie J. says:
It certainly is full on. I thought the acting was outstanding. Cameron Diaz in a powerful role rather than dizzy blonde for once was a refreshing change.

Posted on 20 Mar 2014 01:14:30 GMT
mister joe says:
Good review Valerie.
I personally enjoyed Diaz's performance on the car.Anyway I watched this tonight I am a big fan of Scott but I was left bewildered a little by the dialogue.
Not because I am stupid but more at how clunky and unrealistic it felt.
The constant references to sex etc.Was it just ham fisted analogies between carnal and illegal behaviour?Sort of ruined it for me.
I think Diaz was a bit miscast and her wardrobe oddly unsuitable.
But never the less Scott cannot make a bad movie and at the least they are always splendid to look at.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Mar 2014 09:27:47 GMT
Valerie J. says:
Good morning, Mister Joe, and thank you for your message. I quite enjoyed the dialogue and just chose to ignore sexual references as I admit that 'tacky' movies are not my cup of tea. During the first five minutes, I began to worry about what the movie was going to be like. It's hard to pinpoint why I was so drawn to the movie. I think it was curiosity, like watching a dangerous wild animal with fascination. Something of that sort. As for the dialogue, I have to disagree, with respect, that it was unrealistic. If we ever wrote down (or listened analytically to) a conversation between two people, it is never smooth or word perfect. We 'umm', we 'errr', we digress, we interrupt, and worst of all we lose track of what we are saying (or I do! LOL). It's rare that dialogue is spoken like that in a movie, or in a book, because viewers seem to notice it more. As for Diaz' wardrobe, I found it befitted her extraordinary personality and hairstyle.
Once again, I really appreciated your point of view.

Valerie VJ - Movies and Books World

Posted on 25 Mar 2014 20:09:45 GMT
mister joe says:
Alright Valerie,thanks for response.
Actually my bone of contention with the dialogue is not that it's realistic rather unrealistic.
Great big erudite monologues.....I cannot really remember any umming and erring.
Its quite odd really even "realistic" dialogue in movies is actually not really natural in my opinion.
Day to day dialogue in fact is probably largely banal and lifeless.
"What you having for lunch?"
"Oh a"
I agree it has a hypnotic quality and I have felt a large urge to watch again.
I think it could be a classic in .....what.....15 years?
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