'The Counselor' digs its own grave
Published on -10/29/2013, 10:07 AM
My article title this week provides an exceedingly appropriate summary of "The Counselor" -- which is very unfortunate.
The narrative is needlessly complex and makes the all-star cast constantly run into invisible walls. What's worse is that film chooses its weak narrative over its characters at every single turn.
The perfect representation of this, and the inspiration for my title, is that the main character doesn't have a name. Michael Fassbender, who I very much enjoy, is referred to only as "Counselor." This is easily the film's greatest failure. How can an audience possibly be expected to connect with a character that doesn't have a name, a history or even an interesting title?
Swap "counselor" out of the title and replace it with "attorney," and the parody movie basically writes itself.
That this film was directed by Ridley Scott, the man who gave us films like "Alien," "Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down," is nothing short of an old-fashioned bummer.
Beyond the big-picture missteps, the entire film is littered with clumsy plot obstacles and unnecessary detours. "The Counselor" is a difficult film to follow, but the real punchline is that I just didn't care to. Only one of the characters resonates on a human level, and that character is used almost entirely for plot advancement.
The ultimate test of any decision is making the same choice after learning part or all of the consequences. As much as I didn't enjoy "The Counselor," I still would make the choice to see it before I would subject myself to seeing "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa."
I would rather suffer through what seemed like four hours of a poorly conceived and decidedly unthrilling thriller than watch "Bad Grandpa" and give any justification to the idea that it's acceptable to make strangers uncomfortable for amusement.
2 of 6 stars
James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation. firstname.lastname@example.org