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The Counselor


Nothing Makes Sense

Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R
for graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language
Runtime: 177 minutes
Our Rating:
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz,
Review by Diana Saenger

If only Ridley Scott’s The Counselor was as exciting and promising as its notable cast! It might have been a better movie then. Adapted from his own book, Cormac McCarthy’s tale of crime and betrayal ends up being about as clear as potato soup.

Fassbender, Cruz

Michael Fassbender and Penelope Cruz start the film off as Counselor and Laura. They are in bed, and Counselor is anxious to show off his sexual skills to his fiancée. Right off the bat, the idea that I have to watch an entire movie about a crooked attorney who doesn’t even have a proper name left me cautious.

After some romantic days and a shopping trip all the way to Amsterdam for Counselor to pick out a ring, it’s time for him to depart and earn the money to pay for that very expensive piece of jewelry. He runs off to Mexico's Ciudad Juárez to sum up a plan with drug smugglers. After being questioned about his abilities, Counselor encounters Reiner, played with expert zeal and amusement (especially that spiked hair) by Javier Bardem.

Fassbender, Bardem

Flirting around like a 30s femme fatale in her swanky clothes -- or none at all -- and usually accompanied by her two cheetahs is the mysterious Malkina (Cameron Diaz). She’s Reiner’s sexual partner, but is she also a gold digger or a drug lord herself? The plot seems too confusing to decide, and who cares?


There are scenes in El Paso with sewage trucks running drugs and apparently some mishaps -- and soon everyone is after Counselor. In order to find him, a message (which is supposedly from Counselor to Laura) gets sent out and puts Laura in grave danger.

Pitt, Fassbender

I tried hard to figure out the real plot of this film, but nothing made sense, so I gave up. Although the cast is certainly appealing, their characters are never defined. Even during the very short moments when Brad Pitt shows up as Westray, a cowboy criminal, we have no idea what he’s doing or why.

There are too many good movies out now to spend money on The Counselor. Because this is a Ridley Scott film, that’s very disappointing.

Photo Credits: 20th Century Fox - Kerry Brown

Recommended Audience:
Those who have money to waste