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Ridley Scott is not the main reason that The Counselor is one of the worst movies made in 2013. The casting directors, Nina Gold and Avy Kaufman (a Tribecan), are to blame.
Once again, Cameron Diaz ruined a major motion picture. The Gangs of New York was ruined, in part, by Ms. Diaz (as well as bad editing by Scorsese). In The Counselor, she was given the task of playing a middle-aged, used up, tattooed, party girl who landed a wealthy drug smuggler as a husband, and then becomes a serious villain. She pulled off the middle-aged part, but her attempt to be taken seriously was laughable. TV soap opera actresses do better.
Michael Fassbender, who delivered excellent performances in Shame and Prometheus, was given a bad script and bad leading lady. He is uninteresting and unbelievable in The Counselor.
Back to blaming the casting director for this horrible flick: Penelope Cruz (a BPC resident) was several months pregnant during the filming, and the people in charge thought they could hide her abdomen throughout the flick. Do they think we are stupid?
In the opening film, Fassbeneder and Cruz were supposed to be having an erotic sex scene, but they literally had to hide their bodies with sheets and clever camera angles. Unlike his convincing hypersexual scenes in Shame, this Michael Fassbender performance was cringe provoking.
Brad Pitt was his usual real life Brad Pitt, not acting whatsoever. Every role Brad Pitt plays could be interchanged with the others. His performance in the Counselor could be used for Oceans 16.
Javier Bardem’s (a BPC resident) character was silly. His hair was standing up vertically, as if to be the total opposite to his bowl cut in “No Country for Old Men”. His script was a cliché of a drug dealer taken from Miami Vice or CSI Miami.
The Counselor is disappointing because so many of the actors are normally quite watchable. There needs to be some accountability for this train wreck.
If you do, for some reason, rent this mess, you can salvage it by fast-forwarding past any sex scene or Cameron Diaz scene. Ridley Scott did create a few interesting memorable moments.