Of course, we all know that Cormac is no writer of romance, and everything spirals ridiculously out of control. Instead of dazzling the viewer with a clever cat-and-mouse game, however, the filmmakers never find their footing with their unconventional approach. Random bursts of violence and bizarre sexual displays surely keep the audience guessing, but all these tasteless spectacles do little for the film's bottom line.

Truly, it takes far more than a slew of celebrity talent to make a movie memorable, and no amount of weird get-ups for Bardem, shock-jock antics from Diaz or beautifully framed shots from Scott is going to accomplish that here. What The Counselor lacks desperately is a compelling story, or at least a unique point of view that works. Since that wasn't in the cards, however, we've got one of the world's most acclaimed writers philosophizing about a whole lot of nothing. And to that - not to mention the film's many other shortcomings - audiences should object.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Illegal drugs, particularly cocaine, figure prominently into the plot. A man is shown smoking a joint. Social drinking.
  • Language/Profanity: A handful of f-bombs, plus instances where God's name is misused. Sh--, as- dam- and he-- are also said occasionally.
  • Sex/Nudity: Crude references to female anatomy and various sexual acts. Oral sex is performed on a woman in the opening scene (no nudity but Laura's reaction to what's happening is shown). A lengthy scene where a woman pleasures herself on top of Reiner's car in public. Malkina sports a few skimpy swimsuits at the pool where quite a bit of her naked body is shown from the side. Malkina makes a quasi-pass at Laura in the same scene.
  • Violence: A man driving a motorcycle at a very high speed is purposely tripped up by a wire that ends up not only tipping the bike over but beheading him in the process. We see his head rolling around on the road. Several people are shot multiple times at very close range. A device is placed around a man's neck that keeps getting tighter and tighter until it decapitates him. He's shown in the middle of a busy London street struggling and his blood is spurting everywhere. A woman is kidnapped, and we later see her torso intermingled with a large pile of trash at the local dump.

Publication date: October 25, 2013