not for kids
Gripping, violent drama about dangers of the drug trade.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this dark, fairly compelling drama featuring a star-studded cast -- Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz -- is best for the oldest of teens and adults, who won't likely be overwhelmed by the bleakness and graphic violence in it. Some sex scenes, though not showing genitalia, are fairly graphic in setup, depicting couples having oral sex and, in one scene, a fetishistic act. Characters swear often ("bitch" and "f--k").
- Parents can talk about the motivation of the main character. Why would he want to delve into criminal activity? How is the audience supposed to react to his choices?
- Talk about how the film portrays the price of being involved in drug trafficking. Does the movie glamorize it?
The good stuff
Messages: While there's some positive messages about love overcoming greed, the overall tone is dark and depressing.
Role models: Penelope Cruz plays a girlfriend who loves purely and give of herself freely. Everyone else is a mixed bag, but most are involved in the drug trade and treading a morally suspect path.
What to watch for
Violence: An overwhelming sense of dread runs throughout the film. A few characters are beheaded in nasty ways, their headless bodies shown. A dead body is seen shoved in a oil drum. Gunfights, sometimes at close range, lead to many deaths and the bodies are shown bloody and mangled, up close. A woman is abducted and a man is shown hitting her. Characters discuss in detail how people are tortured and killed.
Sex: The movie starts with a scene depicting oral sex; there's no genitalia visible, but there's a man's head between a woman's legs and it's clear what's happening. In another scene, a woman is shown taking off her underwear and rubbing against a car, to climax.
Language: Plenty of profanity, including "s--t," "ass," "son-of-a-bitch," "damn," hell," "p---y", and lots of uses of "f--k."
Consumerism: Apple products are visible, as are Ferrari, Porsche, Yamaha, and Ford vehicles. Maalox is used.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Lots of social drinking, usually hard liquor. The film is about a drug deal gone awry so characters are shown smuggling cocaine. A character mentions needing Oxy-Contin.
Fan Reviews provided by
OMG too long!!! by hmilgrom
The trailer is the best part of this movie! They condensed 1 hr 51 mins of s--t into a 3-minute watchable film.
This movie was TERRIBLE. Despite a stellar cast, the story meanders; had completely unneccessary, gratuitous scenes (Cameron Diaz on the Ferrari.. REALLY?? Not sexy at all. Just stupid)
It was not told in a tight, linear fashion, which would have suited the plotline better (as in Michael Mann's "Heat".) It just plodded along, with a convoluted drug tale, many extra unneeded characters, and lots of ridiculous speeches. It was a complete waste of good talent (Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz.)
I couldn't follow it after the first 30 minutes. Unbelievably disappointing fare from the usually excellent Ridley Scott.
An Adult Film for Adult Minds by dpwolk
The Counselor is a beautifully written, photographed and well-acted film that plays like a short story. Not every action is clear until later. When a scene begins, one doesn't ever know exactly where it's going. People listen to each other and have conversations that are not straight forward. And for all the thousands of "drug" related movies where running drugs is exciting, rewarding, dangerous and ultimately good guy vs bad guy with good guy winning---forget about it. This movie has the exciting and brutal taste of real life, the much more realistic sense that decisions made easily can have devastating consequences. In real life, the good guy may sometimes win but it doesn't happen so often when dealing with drug cartels and million dollar cocaine shipments. Cormac McCarthy has been exploring seriously the underbelly of violence and the psychology of the American misunderstanding that raises violence to a moral formula where only good guys win. Don't expect a formulaic plot.
Worst. Movie. Ever. by roadhousemike
I just fired Ridley Scott, Cameron Diaz, Brad PItt, and everyone complicit in making this spectacular piece of garbage from using their professional judgment to choose scripts based on any known benchmarks for enjoyable cinema. Due to their collaborative incompetence, I'll now use their choices to determine which movies I WON'T go see at the theater.
Compelling protagonist? Nope. Every character was just an awful human being, with the exception of Penelope Cruz whose role could have been equally served in cameo, much like Goran Visnjic's sub-2-minute appearance. Fassbender, even during his emotional catharsis, couldn't stir any kind of compassion from the audience. The 'hero" was incapable of evolving into anything more than deserving victim of his own choices.
PS: I wish I could have found a shred of value in the obtuse diatribes of Diaz, Blades, etc. I didn't.
The Counselor is a waste of time and money. by tkjbrown
Amazing that so many good names got reeled in by such a bad movie. Don't their people screen out bad scripts? Very little plot, many "let's fill up some running time" scenes. Existentialist rambling musings leaving you wondering "What did he just say?".
depressing and hard to follow (and to suspend disbelief) by seanebrown
had only seen one review of the movie, and went to see it based on the stars in the movie. i'll think twice about doing that again as I wish i had waited for other reviews, probably would have passed in retrospect.
while it was depressing, it was not nearly as engaging as Traffic, for example. it was very tough to connect with the characters, and the dialog frequently seemed out of place - it just didn't make sense that a number of hardened drug dealers would go off on minutes long monologs with the counselor using rather educated language about the dangers of entering the drug trade.
finally, and most importantly, the movie fails to properly convey what the "deal" was that the counselor had engaged in, nor why it went wrong and who was double crossing whom. at a certain point in the movie you just give up trying to figure it out.
Great movie!!! by MyNameisSS
Thank god I didn't listen to the majority here and listened to the few with some taste in movies. This is a wonderfully written, dark story of one mans dabble in the drug cartel and its consequences for the need for greed.
It doesn't have much action and that is why most likely it turned off many thinking it would be a bang-bang, gun slinging, cartel fiasco like we usually see. It has a story with yes, plenty of dialogues between actors (isn't that what movies are about?). There are explicit scenes (its an R rating people, by far, not the worst I've seen). All these criticisms of the movie are unfounded. This movie is for adults, obviously.
If you're not looking for special effects or jam packed action but instead are looking for a great story and great acting, go see this movie!
It goes up there with Blow, Traffic, and has suspenseful scenes similar to No Country for Old Men.
I'm getting this for my blu-ray collection.
James Franco by rocmartin
Great movie. i got the message and you will too. Don't let the bad review ratings given here make you think different. Movie shows the reality of bad dealings or crossing the line and the end result consequences that actions can carry. Great cast, locations, sex, cars, girls and lavish life of the risk-takers. Film reminded me of 'Casino' and how they had something nice going but ended up fuckin' it all up in the end. Cameron Diaz made me stiff when she "rubbed" that Ferrari.
Don't go by ewest123
Truly one of the worst movies I've seen in many years. Great actors wasted on really bad dialog...e.g., Diaz (sultry, bad, rich) says, after her boyfriend (more on Bardem in a sec) comments that she's "cold...", "Truth has no temperature." Really, Cormac McCarthy wrote that?! I love watching Javier Bardem in almost anything, but his high-living drug lord *** restauranteur was painful to witness. He's clownish and vaguely derivative of Jack Nicholson's Joker. In a piece in today's NYT, Ridley Scott (director) talked about the "dread" that starts building right away. Yeah, something really brutal and unnecessary is going to happen, probably to the unusually sweet Penelope Cruz (I prefer her saucy). I couldn't figure out how many deals this silly lawyer (Fassbinder...too many teeth for a good guy) is into. And Diaz on the windshield? "...too gynecological", as Bardem describes it. I walked out before another grotesque image could lodge in my memory.
great, dark movie by lretter
I don't get the bad reviews.... There is indeed a lot of dialogue, but that's because the audience gets thrown into the middle of the story line, right near the climax. In order to understand the characters, their choices, and where they are in this story, the dialogue is necessary, not to mention captivating. This type of presentation makes the characters almost relate-able, if not realistic. I think the reason so many disliked the movie is because it has no happy ending. But more an more, Americans are beginning to realize that there are few happy endings in real life when dark choices must be made.
There is a scene towards the end of the movie, where the Counselor is talking to one of the cartel representatives, and the guy basically lays out the entire meaning to this movie. Watch it, although you might feel ****** at the end, you'll realize this was a fantastic movie.
suprised by the bad reviews by maryld3
This is not your typlical hollywood action drug cartel movie that glamifies the drug dealing lifestyle. The film has a philosophical message and i thought it was done very well - it's a more of an artful, make you think movie which my husband and i both enjoyed.