What on Earth occurred to this picture? How did so many tremendously capable individuals get together to make such a jumbled mess-of-a-movie?
I can only imagine that the whole things works better as a screenplay than it does an actual film, willingly concluding that the words on the printed page look much better than they when they are heard out loud because – ultimately when digested in this fashion – this is a wordy, nonsensical speech-driven film whose dialogue resulted in me losing patience with the thing about thirty minutes in. There is a line in the movie that has been used as a tagline for the poster and it’s one that is uttered by Diaz early in the film “truth has no temperature” – it’s an awful line and a good indication the type of dialogue we get throughout the film – clearly aiming for deep and cryptic but landing in the realm of pretentious, boring and overdone.
The narrative – what there is of one – to The Counsellor is simultaneously over-cooked and undernourished but the picture does not place much emphasis on it as most of it focuses on the emotional and psychological consequences on the different characters involved.
What a shame. This could have been a new classic. Instead it’s just a mountain of bunkum. Maybe in twenty years people will look back on this movie and see something great. But right now all I see is a jumbled mess that doesn’t make much sense and is nowhere near as good as it should be.
Judgements & Sentences by Paul Elliott