The Counselor (2013) - dir. Ridley Scott
The film centers on the unnamed Counselor (Michael Fassbender) a high-end attorney who enters into business with some very powerful friends (Javier Bardem & Brad PItt), then realizes, once things start to go south, that he is in way over his head. There’s plenty of meaty symbolism [including a delicious little allegorical vignette in which we observe the craziest femme fatale in recent memory, the exotic Malkina (Cameron Diaz)] there’s a number of choice bits of dialogue, and there’s some terrific questions posed about the nature of evil versus the nature of man.
You can feel what the film is striving for and I wish so much that it had succeeded - even a little.
Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography made the film feel like a heavily-polished daytime soap opera. The softwash backdrops, the intense contrasting… it was too much. Daniel Pemberton’s score felt lifted from a parody film. And poor Pietro Scalia, the film’s editor… he was given so little to work with.
The main problem with the Counselor is in its director/writer pairing. While Scott is terrific at creating tension and showing action… the Counselor is a dialog heavy script that hinges (albeit too much) on hyper-intellectual characters pontificating about the ways of the world. This is no Alien. This is no Gladiator. Scott’s had some misses throughout his career, but never have I been so disappointed with such a fumble.