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The Counselor 2013

R CC

Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz sizzle in this gripping thriller about a drug deal that spins dangerously out of control.

Starring:
Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz
Runtime:
1 hour, 58 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director Ridley Scott
Starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz
Supporting actors Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Rubén Blades, Brad Pitt, Goran Visnjic, Édgar Ramírez, Dean Norris, Sam Spruell, Alex Hafner, Andrea Deck, Toby Kebbell, Giannina Facio, Gerard Monaco, Juan José Rodríguez, Cesar Aguirre, Daniel Holguín
Studio Fox
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David A. Greene on January 26, 2015
Format: Blu-ray
I was appalled by the evil being presented to me in this film. It was as if the hideous Bardem villain in "No Country for Old Men" (also from Cormack McCarthy's writings) had become legion. Here is a whole population of frightening psychopaths with no compunction about subjecting others to violence and cruelty. Despite all of this, I was riveted to the screen throughout. I felt that McCarthy had somehow delved into the evil world of the drug cartels to an extent where he could make you experience, unusually deeply, how terrifying their evil really is. Now I am one who is always fonder of character-driven movies, with brilliant dialogue, leaving one with much to think about when the lights come up at the finish. I wasn't especially keen to experience action, thrills, or suspense. The lengthy verbal scenes toward the close of the film might well strike many a modern young viewer as somewhat static and, perhaps, difficult to comprehend, but I was with them all the way. I have seldom heard such articulate expressions of profound psychological and disturbing philosophical issues in a movie, and it worked for me. I have seen many reviews by others who, clearly did not feel this way about the film. Seeing the kinds of movies that are most successful these days, I can hardly be surprised; however, for anyone who wants to experience a deeply thoughtful, unflinching exploration of some of the very darkest aspects of today's world, I heartily recommend this movie. Everyone should be strongly warned that many of the sexual matters, as well as some of the violence are very shocking indeed; at least they were to me.
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Format: DVD
Cormac McCarthy is not for everyone.

His books hit like a brick to the stomach, and are just about as dense. He says *to hell* to grammar and punctuation. Because who needs commas when 17 uses of "and" will do? Why make 12 little sentences when one large one will do? Why make your characters speak normally when they can converse in existential soliloquies? Heck, why name your characters at all?

In spite of this, he is probably the most influential author alive, and one of the most divisive. His sentences can make a grown man weep, laugh, and disturbed...frequently all at once. His characters are broadly drawn, vividly realized, and unforgettable. They inhabit a dark, morally ambiguous world where Argentine vixen go cheetah hunting in the Mexican desert, where people are decapitated by razor wire stretched across roads. This is The Counsellor, a divisive yet stunning look at the nature of greed, evil, and desperation, brought to vivid life by Ridley Scott and his brilliant cast. Welcome to the world of Cormac McCarthy.

Whether you want to be in this world, whether you agree with his grand themes, or can even put up with McCarthy's dense little gems of sentences depends on YOU. There is an equal chance that you will find The Counsellor slow, confusing, and difficult that you will find it thought-provoking, visually stunning, and lyrical. I urge you to watch it and make up your mind. Just know what you're going in for: this is not an thrill-packed action movie. This is a slow-burning, existential psychological thriller punctuated by moments of visceral violence and constructed of gorgeously rendered soliloquies by an excellent cast.

The Counsellor is bound to force you to make an opinion. You will either love this film...or not at all.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
OK, I know that puts me in the minority, but the story, directing and acting are all great imo.

So what's wrong with it?

Reading other reviews I think the hardest thing is to follow the plot. I pre-purchased the screenplay (because I'll read a birthday card if McCarthy wrote it). It's much easier to follow the story when you read it at your own pace, so when it came to the movie, there was almost no issue, though even then it's not clear to me why Malkina engineered a hijack that she didn't mind losing. I have to assume she was getting paid by the hijackers, and then she took the main swag from Westray, so she got paid twice (even though she didn't deliver on the hijack?). But it's hardly explained. I understand the extended cut is a bit easier to follow so I recommend watching that -- which I haven't, but I might yet.

The philosophy I thought was great. This is a morality tale -- don't get caught up in big drug deals to fund a fancy lifestyle, because you have no idea what you are going to be dealing with. To come out on top you'd better be amoral (immoral doesn't cut it) and very smart. All others perish. The counselor was warned multiple times, and he didn't listen. I thought the part about how we create our own worlds, and sometimes you make choices that preclude you ever returning to prior ones was phenomenal. Most pointed moral guideline -- "Think of that next time you do a line." Sure, they speak a bit more cleverly more of the time than most people do in real life. That's often the case in a story -- makes it more interesting than real life. I usually assume that they discuss who's doing the grocery shopping off camera.

As for the brutality, that's an essential part of the story too, and McCarthy didn't make it up.
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