The Counselor is the latest film from No Country for Old Men writer Cormac McCarthy, making his screenwriting debut alongside director Ridley Scott, with a film that explores the complexities of hustling, and the fact that no matter how big a shark you think you are, there's always a bigger one swimming nearby.
Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender make up part of an impressive cast
The premise and the names attached tot he film all looked as though they fit into place, and The Counselor seemed to be the latest hot Oscar contender, however, upon closer inspection it looks as though the pieces were too big after all, and the film looks unlikely to stand up to expectation.
Michael Fassbender is our titular 'hero,' playing a respected lawyer who swims into unsafe waters after he becomes involved in the business dealings of one of his former clients. The illegal dealings initially start as a one-time rush, but soon Fassbender's character - known only as the Counselor - finds himself coming back for more, and pretty soon he finds himself way out of his depth. Rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest crooks in the game; namely Brad Pitt's Westray and Javier Bardem's Reiner, the line between good and bad soon blurs into irrelevance for our lawyer friends as he tries to swim to safety from this nightmarish scenario.
Even Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz looking like this can't save the movie
"The only joy is in a horrified desire to see what craziness happens next," a thoroughly disappointed Kate Erbland of Film.com said in her review of the film. She isn't the only one who left the pre-screening of the film disgruntled though, as the majority of critics who have already seen the film had similarly disparaging words to say about it.
The Hollywood Reporter's resident critic, Todd McCarthy complained that "despite its scaldingly hot cast and formidable writer/director combination," the end product "is not very likeable" or remotely "gratifying" at any point. The end result, he says, is just "a bummer."
Time Magazine's Mary F. Pols complained that the film was "derivative" and played "like a parody of a Cormac McCarthy adaptation," rather than anything close to the greatness of No Country for Old Men. Elsewhere, David Thomson of The New Republic get straight to the point, calling The Counselor " a very bad film," one that he suspects the cast and crew knew was bad whilst they were making it. He goes on, "It lacks clarity, plausibility, suspense, and purpose."
With style like Bardem's, no wonder the film isn't being warmly received
If you're still interested, The Counselor arrives in cinemas across America on Friday, 25 October, and in the UK on 15 November.
Watch the trailer for The Counselor