Things to like about The Counselor:
- Cormac McCarthy’s literate script. The master novelist transfers his writing talent to a screenplay.
- Ridley Scott’s compelling visuals. Every scene in The Counselor looks good onscreen.
- Cameron Diaz’s silver fingernails. Stylish. (as Malkina)
- The love scene between The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) and his lady Laura (Penelope Cruz). Tastefully sexy amongst the white sheets.
- Brad Pitt in a cowboy hat (as Westray) telling The Counselor that he could be happy living in a monastery. Why doesn’t he? In a word, he says, “women.”
- Javier Bardem (as Reiner) telling a very dirty (but funny) story about a Malkina sexual escapade on a Ferrari windshield.
- Bruno Ganz (as the Diamond Dealer) triggering memories of the Hitler Reacts videos.
- The Counselor’s repeated requests for advice from others. Ironic role reversal.
- Ruben Blades back on screen as one of those who counsels The Counselor.
- Rosie Perez back on screen as a prisoner The Counselor is assigned to defend.
- The creative method of transporting dope into the U.S. via oil drums hidden inside a tanker truck’s tank.
- Dean Norris back on screen as one involved in the drug trade. Ironic role reversal for Breaking Bad DEA agent Hank.
- Malkina’s leopards chasing jackrabbits.
- The classy look of most of the settings: Reiner’s restaurant, Reiner’s residence, The Counselor’s apartment, the spa where Malkina and Laura visit together.
- The gritty look of the garages where the dope is loaded and unloaded.
- The Counselor’s discomfited reactions to all the cautionary words he hears.
- McCarthy’s clever use of the word “cautionary.”
- The creative methods of killing people.
The Counselor does lean heavily on dialogue but there is plenty of action to balance it out. The story—a drug deal that doesn’t come off quite as planned with money missing—is standard stuff.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a Ridley Scott movie or a Cormac McCarthy novel, don’t miss The Counselor.