A well-respected lawyer has the life many of us could only dream of. He's in a healthy relationship with a beautiful woman, has an abundance of friends, and appears to be quite wealthy. When the "counselor" decides to enter into an illegal business venture that entails drug trafficking, his life quickly turns into a nightmarish scenario where there is no escape. Ridley Scott's The Counselor is a very peculiar but often entertaining crime story that has enough wit and humor to make it a unique entry in this over-stuffed sub-genre. One thing that jumped out at me about The Counselor is how the script feels a little too self-masturbatory. Being that this is McCarthy's first script I'll cut him some slack but there were quite a few scenes that just felt unnatural. That being said, The Counselor is a film that's far better than its reception would suggest, with a great central performance by Fassbender. I've read a lot of criticism centered around the notion that none of these characters are likeable but this didn't bother me at all. Penelope Cruz's character, Laura, was very important in that regard, the one character in the film that was likeable and innocent. Probably my favorite aspect of the entire movie was how the Cartel is never given a face or leader. So many movies these days want to show us this big bad guy in charge but in reality not seeing this makes the whole Cartel feel far more ominous, like an unstoppable force. On the other end, my biggest complaint by far would be the miscasting of Cameron Diaz. She plays a major part in this movie and the fact that she didn't fit the role really hurt its believability at times. It's funny cause for awhile there I found The Counselor to be an incredibly incendiary film towards woman but what I didn't realize is I was playing right into McCarthy's hands. Whether intentional or not, this film is in a weird way a statement on sexism, with Diaz's character being the intelligent and strong-willed woman who goes unnoticed because of her gender. Ridley Scott's The Counselor is far from perfect, lacking much of an emotional impact, but there is no denying its entertainment value featuring one of the most memorable scenes in recent memory: Cameron Diaz and a car.
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