THE COUNSELOR: REVIEW – David from Prometheus (Michael Fassbender) has returned to Earth, blended into the legal profession, re-attached his head and is putting it to good use on Penelope Cruz, but – because he knows more than one Mexican – he’s involved in some kind of drug deal and – because this is a film – it goes wrong.

Incidentally, why are drug deals, bank heists and kidnappings always going wrong in films? What a skewed view of the world! I’ll have you know that for every drugs deal, bank heist and kidnapping that goes wrong, there are thousands that go off without a hitch and everyone goes home happy. How about giving the hardworking girls and boys in the criminal underworld a break and show some happy stories about how well organised they all are? Enough of the negativity, Hollywood!

Anyway down to serious business.

Ridley Scott’s film looks good but sounds awful. Because of the f*cking words. Cormac McCarthy’s script is awful: everyone talks like people talk in Cormac McCarthy novels and no one has talked like that for two hundred years and even then… But that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is some of these lines are spoken by Cameron Diaz, a barely capable comic actress who is utterly out of her depth here, which is odd, because despite the cod philosophizing of the script the film is actually embarrassingly superficial. But still she’s out of her depth.

McCarthy is a kind of superficial writer. You can get away with it in novels, with your spare prose and references to the King James Bible, but films show it up.

No Country for Old Men borrowed its plot from Dumb and Dumber, but it was so well filmed and acted no one cared. The Road didn’t have a plot so much as a setting and some dour clichés. The Counselor decides to do the clever elision thing, so we know there’s a plot somewhere but Cormac isn’t telling and then he repeats ‘symbols’ so we get some larger ‘point’. And the dialogue wants to sound clever but never actually is.  And if you think I’m being a bit cold, remember: the truth has no temperature.


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