Film Review: The Counsellor

The Counsellor

The Counsellor is a well executed thriller from director Ridley Scott. Cormac McCarthy’s screenplay really elevates the film above others of the same ilk.

The Counsellor is a successful lawyer for some unsavoury characters. Wanting to maintain his lifestyle, Counsellor gets deeper involved in his client’s drug trafficking dealings. This puts his life with partner Laura in jeopardy…

The Counsellor is competent and entertaining crime thriller. The narrative is not particularly unique; it is the execution that makes the film great.

The dialogue in the film is great. Rather than natural exchanges, the film features a number of monologues. These feel very much in the vein of McCarthy, with characters extolling on life and other meaty subjects. There are some fantastic gems scattered amongst the waves of horror and amusement.

The Counsellor is clever in its placing of key outcomes earlier in the film. Rather than simply clanging hints of what is to follow, these work to build tension. The audience have some idea of what is coming, but it is nail-biting to see who will be involved and how these aspects will play out.

Ridley Scott’s direction is as on point as ever. The Counsellor is a polished film, yet there is a savageness under the surface. This occasionally reaches the brim, and it is at these points that the film excels. The protagonist works as a balanced figure; a normal guy motivated by greed. The time invested in the relationship between him and Laura pays dividends later in the film.

Michael Fassbender offers a solid performance as the title character. He is more convincing the less the character is in control. Javier Bardem is superb in a quasi-comic role, and it is great to see Cameron Diaz do something darker than her usual fare.

The Counsellor is an engaging and entertaining film. The screenplay successfully distinguishes the film from other crime thrillers.