The Counsellor  (2013)    70/100

Rating :   70/100                                                                     117 Min        18

A slow burn film that takes a while to really settle and get into, but ultimately has enough of a punch to deliver. It’s an ensemble piece from director Ridley Scott, one that sees the rich cast of Michael Fassbender, the titular legal counsellor who decides to embark on a risky drug dealing enterprise for some extra money, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Bruno Ganz, Toby Kebbell and Rosie Perez in a tale of dangerous consequences that uniquely feels real, rather than what we might expect from a big budget movie. Some of the cast give very good performances, Pitt in particular who’s character (if I heard him correctly) manages to fit in a reference to Scots law even though this is based in Mexico and the south of the US (which was nice actually – perhaps this means he was made to feel welcome here when he was shooting ‘World War Z’, or perhaps ‘No Country for Old Men’ novelist Cormac McCarthy, for whom this is his first screenplay, has an interest in Scotland), in fact, and I may be wrong, I think there were a couple of other Scottish references dotted throughout the film …

In any case, it is a dark but worthy film despite a number of flaws – such as the difficulty to engage with it for quite some time, a slightly muffled quality to the dialogue with too much of the delivery focused on having ‘gravely’ voices for dramatic effect/to look ‘cool’, and a creeping verbosity to some of the scenes. There is a strong philosophical element to the film as well, which The Red Dragon feels works very well – just don’t go in expecting to see sunshine and rainbows.

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