I hadn’t watched the long cut in roughly seven years, and I’m telling you it’s aged beautifully — it’s a ruthlessly brilliant, ice-cold film about irrevocable fate and death by way of the Mexican drug cartels. And yet The Counselor‘s throat was cut by most critics, earning a meager 33% and 48% on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, respectively.
The Counselor Bluray includes an excellent “making of” documentary that lasts around…oh, 45 minutes or so. For whatever reason it’s not on YouTube.
Initial HE review: “I was so impressed by the profound assurance, philosophical authority and thematic clarity in Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor (20th Century Fox, 10.25), which I saw last night, that I pleaded with Fox publicists to let me say a few things despite the Thursday afternoon review embargo. They gave me permission to do so.
“I was also very taken by the visually seductive stylings (the dp is Dariusz Wolski with editing by Pietro Scalia) and what I would call a bold but almost reckless indifference to conventional audience expectations for a film of this type.
“Ignore Counselor Naysaysers,” posted on 10.24.13:
“Take no notice of The Counselor‘s 34% Rotten Tomatoes rating. It simply means that a lot of reviewers found the movie unlikable or unpleasant. Or they found it too scary to handle — they had to push it away in order to go on living their lives. But shame on those reviewers who are calling it a bad or poorly made film, or that ‘everyone’s speech is awash in gaudy psycho-blather and Yoda-like observations,’ which is blind bullshit. Or that ‘you can’t believe a word of it.”
“Yes, you can. You can believe every word. You simply have to understand and accept that The Counselor is expressing a cold and clear-eyed view of the Mexican cartel drug business with a very blunt and eloquent voice. It is an undistilled visit to McCarthyland, which is to say the bleak moralistic realm of novelist and (in this instance) first-time screenwriter Cormac McCarthy. You can say “wow, that’s one cold and cruel place” and that’s fine, but you cannot call The Counselor a bad or negligible or sloppily made film. I hereby declare these viewpoints anathema and excommunicate.
“Consider instead the praise from Toronto Star critic Peter Howell and St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic Joe Williams. Or the two hosannahs I posted yesterday. Or consider the words of N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis, who calls Ridley Scott‘s film “terrifying” and “implacable.”