A little fish in a big pond; this film is one of the most extreme visions of that very simple and innocent saying. This is the perfect definition of being out of one’s element. As a guy I know all too well that you can’t simply jump into the cold water, you have to go in slowly, get all the important stuff in and just basically ease into it. When you just jump in, unforeseen things can happen, things you most likely don’t want happening to your body. In The Counselor, Michael Fassbender is that fish, he is out of his element, and naively he jumps in the freezing water without checking the temperature or looking out for the very large sharks swimming nearby.
This film is the follow up directorial effort for Ridley Scott after he made Prometheus. This is a man that has traveled through nearly every era of time, every realm of the universe, and into every genre of film there is. From horror with Hannibal to Sci-fi with Alien he has done it all. Not absolutely every time, but a majority of them, his films are entertaining with substance for those that like some thinking to go along with their movies. As one of my personal favorite directors I always look forward to seeing his films, and with The Counselor he continues the excellence he is praised for.
The dialogue is a treat all its own, which should be expected from a McCarthy written script. If you prefer mindless, thoughtless, just broken down kinds of films then steer clear of this one… but if, like myself, you love intelligent stories that force you to pay attention then definitely check this out. It is slow but with a purpose and it is vicious in its execution. It does not shy away from the more grotesque elements that come with the type of lifestyle these characters find themselves in. I can’t talk about Scott without mentioning his visual style as he rivals the best like Fincher, Spielberg, and Scorsese. Despite what you may ultimately think about the film, there is no denying the visuals are beautiful. The desert hills and the gloomy London settings are just a couple of places that are showcased stunningly in a way that only Scott could achieve in such a manner.
The Counselor is a man that feels guilelessly confident about the seedy world he is about to enter. With every meeting, whether it is with old friends or new acquaintances, he is warned about what exactly he is getting himself into. By the time he realizes exactly the kind of people he is getting into business with it is far too late, he should have listened when he had the chance to change his fate. All he can see is the paycheck dangling from the end of a stick; he doesn’t see the immensely negative obstacles in his way. He sees a long life with his now fiancée, Laura (Penélope Cruz), and he is blinded from the sharks swimming at his heels. The extremely volatile world of drugs and cartels is no simple kind of existence and it certainly doesn’t come with a long shelf life. This is one story that does not have a happy ending, no matter the efforts taken to stop it.
While the story is slow, it has its moments of severe violence and gore. It’s like a jet that goes from normal flight then suddenly without warning hits the speed of sound. One of my favorite aspects of this thriller is the relentless tension felt throughout its entire run time. The metaphorical walls continuously and mercilessly close in on these characters and you as the audience are shown a film that brings you into this world causing you to feel that tension and closing in. You are put into the front seat and you can feel the terror these characters are being thrown into head first. This is one of the best thrillers of the year and one of the most intelligent as well.
Rated R For: graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language
Run Time: 117 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
For a second opinion, check out Jasper’s video review below:
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