Movie Review: THE COUNSELOR - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Terry's Take

Movie Review: THE COUNSELOR

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The new movie called THE COUNSELOR hasn't done well with critics even though it's got a high powered cast including Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz; a renowned director (Ridley Scott); and a screenplay by Cormac McCarthy, the novelist who wrote NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

Anyone looking for a typical action-thriller will probably be disappointed by THE COUNSELOR, because this well acted, beautifully shot film noir is chock full of philosophical dialogue. And most of the main characters are on the road to disaster.
     
Many critics think THE COUNSELOR is pretentious, and probably most audiences will too, but I enjoyed it.
    
Michael Fassbender is the counselor, a character never referred to by any other name.
He's in love with Penelope Cruz as Laura, the only truly person in the movie.
   
The counselor has a lavish lifestyle but he's having money troubles so he gets involved in a deal to movie a large load of narcotics from Mexico to Chicago. The middleman to the drug cartel is Brad Pitt as Westray.

Westray: You seem unsettled.
Counselor: I'm all right.
Westray: If you're not in, you need to tell me….I just need to be sure that you're locked in cause maybe I should tell you what Mickey Rourke told what's-his-face.
That's my recommendation, anyway counselor. Don't do it. You may think there are things these people are simply incapable of. There are not.

But the counselor doesn't heed the advice and when the drugs are hijacked by an unknown person, he and his partners are in big trouble. Javier Bardem as Reiner is one of those partners.

Counselor: what do you think I should do?
Reiner: I don't know, counselor. I don't know.

And then there's Cameron Diaz whose performance as Malkina, Reiner's malevolent girl friend, is a revelation.
 
Malkina: I don't think I miss things. I think to miss something is to hope it will come back. But it's not coming back.
Reiner: You don't think that's a bit cold.
Malkina: I think truth as no temperature.

If that exchange strikes you as pretentious, don't see this movie. There's lots of dialogue like in THE COUNSELOR, and the downward spiral to disaster cannot be stopped.

Malkina: When the ax comes through the door, I'll already be gone. You know that.
Reiner: That's fair enough.

Laura: How bad is it?
Westray: Let's say pretty bad and then multiply it by ten.

THE COUNSELOR is very well done. Whether it's good or bad is mainly a matter of taste.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now              thunter@hawaiinewsnow.com