I’m still confused – The Counselor – Movie Review

I begin with all of my reviews with a simple warning about the post. This post CONTAINS SPOILERS, and if you don’t want the movie ruined, then read at your own risk. I don’t apologize for my own personal opinion on the movie and we may not agree on it. Either way, this is my personal review, something I do on for a majority of the movies I see/watch. Remember, this post CONTAINS SPOILERS, and continue reading at your own risk.

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The Counselor, written by Cormac McCarthy (The Road and No Country For Old Men) and directed by Ridley Scott (In Her Shoes, Black Hawk Down and The A-Team), is a movie that looks good by the trailer but isn’t when you actually sit down to watch it. I will begin this review a little bit differently compared to my other reviews by stating what my star grade is and then going from there.

The Counselor is as I stated before, a movie that looks good by the trailer but isn’t. I give this movie 2 out of 10 stars. And I only give it the 2 stars for the wonderful casting abilities given in this movie. The actors chosen is a great ensemble but the movie itself has lost any sort of direction. The storyline is empty and the movie itself is an hour too long. Let me dive into this movie and explain why the movie sucked as I go. And for those who think this movie deserves some Oscar nominations, hell no.

We begin The Counselor with the Counselor (played by Michael Fassbender, X-Men: First Class, 300) and Laura (played by Penelope Cruz, Sahara, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) at home in bed. And we jump straight into him going down on her and yes, the whole moans and everything. This is basically a turn off from the start, I mean really no one wants to see that and I certainly didn’t care of it in the opening. We move through Counselor going to visit a friend of his, Reiner (played by Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men and Eat Pray Love). Reiner is a man involved in the drug world, cocaine to be exact and he wants to know if Counselor is in on the next big deal.

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Reiner has a very rich girlfriend by the name of Malkina (played by Cameron Diaz, The Sweetest Thing and Bad Teacher). Malkina herself is a smart woman and it seems that the Counselor thinks she’s dangerous but really just brushes it under the rug. He heads off to meet with Westray (played by Brad Pitt, Fight Club and World War Z). Westray is the man who sets up the shipments. He’s in charge of the operations and seems to know who is really in charge on the other side of the border. The drugs are going to be shipped in a septic truck across the border header to an unknown location. At this point, the unknown location isn’t really unknown because Westray eventually says where it’s going, Chicago.

We move through the Counselor asking Laura to marry him because he can’t live without her. This love story isn’t developed except for the fact that she’s labeled as the one for him. Good job, and lets move on.

Something goes wrong with the shipment and it ends up missing. It’s about 20 million dollars worth of drugs and the men who want their pay back on the drugs, are pissed, to the point they are taking heads. This makes everyone a target. The Counselor hears the news from Westray who is already heading out to live in the wind. The question however is, who ratted out where the shipment was headed and where the hell is it?

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They all have to move quickly to avoid being killed. And to just jump right into this, Malkina is the one who took the shipment. It leaves you wondering how she knew where it was or basically anything about it. Well she’s got the entire house bugged and she’s been following Reiner when he wasn’t aware (at least it’s implied). But the real problem with this, is while people get killed because it’s the drug business, the entire story of why she took it is lost. Yes it’s a lot of money but it seems to me the girl isn’t hurting for it. Also, the exact way she knew where it was at all times is never explained and leaves you wondering at the exact point of the entire plot of the movie.

In the end, everyone is dead except Malkina. She in turn is going to head to China, at least that’s what she tells her banker at the end of the movie. In the end, the best part of the movie is the cast. Really the rest of it is for waste and some creepy unnecessary sex scenes are supposed to help make the movie? You may want to try again Ridley Scott.

I’m still trying to piece together exactly what the point of the movie was. The main thing I can see is if you get involved in the drug world, you’re going to end up dead. And again, I don’t need a movie to tell me this. I was hoping about half-way through the movie Westray and Malkina were in on the lost drugs the entire time. I would have actually given this movie a great deal more credit and like if this had happened, that they were together the whole time and basically wanted Reiner and Counselor out on their business. That however isn’t the case and it makes the movie seem to drag on and the movie is too long. Of course all of this goes back to the storyline that seems to be confused in itself.

When it call comes down to it, I recommend you don’t waste your money. Or if you do, at least ask for your money back. And if by some miracle you actually want to see it, only do it with your Netflix subscription. Don’t waste it on Redbox or your local DVD rental store. It really isn’t worth it.

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31 thoughts on “I’m still confused – The Counselor – Movie Review

  1. I totally agree with you. One thought though… Wasn’t it some kind of tracking device that kept being plugged in and out how she knew where it was?

    • No, that device was something to enable/disable the ignition. It was removed when it arrived in Chicago and then given to the soon-to-be decapitated motorcycle driver whose job it was to then deliver to the distributors (that’s what they removed from his helmet after so crudely shaking his head out of it!)

      • I like the tracking device idea as well. The switch, the blinking led, how else do you explain the cartel guys? Dual purpose device.

  2. You completely leave out the fact that 20million was paid for a snuff movie which seems to be taken from Westray at the end of the movie by Malkina. I have no idea how the snuff movie ended up with him and I am trying to find this out. Your review is not very helpful, sorry:)

    • The DVD is a snuff film of the counselors wife, not the one westray was talking about. Also, the point of the story from westray about “how much you think that (snuff film) cost?” was to demonstrate to the counselor that they were willing to kill for much less and for basically no reason than the $20 mil they were in for and the apparent theft by them.

    • Could Malkina be connected enough to have arranged for the counselor to have been selected as the lawyer for the bikers mom? Setting the plan in motion. Brad Pitt says a crumb can bring you down so he gets revenge on the black eye guy but the counselor allows the former client to seriously dis him. Is this significant? The ignition switch on the truck included a tracking device yes? That’s how the cartel found the truck so quick. But why leave the truck unguarded? Did Malkina really want the drugs or was interfering with the shipment just a part of getting Brad Pitt’s money? I thing she wanted the drugs too.

  3. I just saw it. I liked it in a strange way, but i’m also confused. If the counselor had not made the choice to get involved in the drug deal, the movie would be the same? We would still bail out the green hornet, raising suspicion. Then the hole moral story of ‘if you get into drugs you’ll die’ isn’t valid anymore. He would have died either way. What do you think? Hhope you can remember..

    Guy from the netherlands

    • It is not about the drug deal. Laura is his dream (wish or future). Reiner is the emotions. Westray is the reason. He is there to help the counselor and asks him to not go for the deal more than once. Malkina is the death. It worth to point out that the “Mexican philosopher” on the phone is God (he needs to take a nap on the end of the conversation). The movie is about human nature and our attachment to the past. The drug deal is a bad decision that destroys our dream. There is much more still.
      The counselor is us humans, that’s why he doesn’t have a name. And he didn’t die, this is a wrong information on this review.
      Great movie in my opinion.

      Cheers.
      Guy from Brazil.

      • And the “mafia” that never appears but kills everybody is destiny. It doesn’t believe in coincidences and it can do everything.
        One thing that I couldn’t understand was the dead guy on the barrel together with the drugs

      • Thanks, your summary makes more sense than any I’ve read. I remembered havin to explain the Matrix as a biblically/saviour like plot.

      • thanx man! so the counselor getting into drugs is not a important part of the story,we both conclude.

      • Thanks for the explanation. I enjoyed the movie because of its apparent disjointed plot and random scenes. It’s a nice break from being lead down the yellow brick road to a universal conclusion. Although, and the reason I found this blog is, I don’t understand the last scene? It’s as if she is saying that she is dead and so is he ( banker )?
        Oh, I think the body in the barrel is explained in the scene. It’s just the Columbians saying the are more ruthless than cartel in Mexico.

      • I LOVE THE EXPLINATION. THANK YOU I WAS CONFUSED BUT YOU MADE IT MAKE SENSE AND NOW I LOVE THE MOVIE.

    • If he wasn’t involved then he’d just be a lawyer. It’s the coincidence, lawyer plus money man that sets things off.

  4. Are you guys all idiots? The briefcase taken from Westray did not contain a snuff film, it contained access to millions in liquid cash. The “device” was removed when the truck made it across the border, and needed to be reinstalled by the person who was going to take the truck to Chicago. Malkina is not driven by greed, she is driven by the instinct to hunt and kill.

    • Minion, u seem to understand the movie much in the same way as I did. I understand it’s basically a philosophical film. But my biggest confusions & questions are : did Westray let the cartel get the stolen shipment back from Malkina so he could get HIS money from deal, but in the meantime, he sets up Reiner & The Counselor so he would not have to pay out to them? Did Westray cut them out of the deal & essentially get them killed by letting cartel think that they were in on theft? Then he got shipment back from Malkina, b/c he somehow knows her & knew what she was up to, & gave to cartel for his big pay off? Maybe Malkina & Westray both got the truck stolen just to get Reiner &the Counselor out of the way so they could get a bigger pay off, but Westray double-crossed Malkina by taking all the pay off, so she goes after him in end to get it back? But he still fled country b/c he did screw over many people, including Malkina, who he obviously knows how ruthless & calculating she is & knows she will go after him? Is that why Malkina killed him? B/c she knew it was him & that he got all the $ & she wanted it? Also, Malkina is, basically, in it just for herself & ENJOYS being the predator (like her cheetahs) & causing destruction & death to anyone & everyone else in movie, including cartel. So, does all this go back to the awful death of her parents? They were thrown from a helicopter, so they were most likely involved in drugs, maybe with the cartel & Westray? Her only way to get to Westray & cartel, to get revenge, is through Reiner, who she sees as an easy target b/c he is not very serious & only really cares about getting rich & having a good time, so he is much weaker than her so she can easily manipulate & gain information from him to get at Westray & cartel 4 revenge for her parents deaths? Laura, the Counselor, & Reiner were just collateral damage to her that she does not care about. She obviously had such a hard childhood & life b/c of her parents involvement with cartel &, subsequent, death, that she is a hardened ruthless apex predator now who only cares about causing the same misery & pain she felt to others & getting rich while doing so? This movie seems to be about the ruthlessness of the cartel but also very much about the damage a vengeful woman can cause? “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!”. Do you believe my theory holds water? This is what I took from the movie, but I am curious to hear what u think about my theories. Please respond when u can as I am confused & need some feedback about my theories b/c I do love the movie, but they left far too many holes in the story for a layman to follow easily. But i do love Malkina’s character, & I think that the entire movie is actually about her.

  5. Minion, I don’t think anybody here is an idiot and I believe saying that everybody is an idiot is very idiotic. But your statement about the movie is true I think. Could you also respond to my question? Maybe it could be helpful to me.

  6. Greate post. Keep writing such kind of information on your site.
    Im really impressed by it.
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  7. This movie from the beginning and throughout leaves you thinking it’s a sequel to a first story gone untold – I know I view beginning to end but it’s as if I came into a movie late and missed half of it and kept wondering how dumb these folks could be with no bug out plan a common survivalist follows arrogantly using mainstream predictable channels to escape and escape what? Cartels lose shipments regularly since it;s a game of cat/mouse knowing full well only a percentage will succeed getting to market. If you killed everyone there’d be no cartel. This is Hollywood Loonsville.

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  9. I like the idea that it is all symbolic and it doesn’t matter who the guy in the barrel is, it could be anyone is the point. The snuff film is low budget and yes his wife. What I can not understand is how Pitt has made any profit as the shipment was paid for and loss. Does he have previous wealth which Diaz stills as a plan B. Who pays for the drugs is the real question after all the Cartel gets them back correct? I would think you would need to sell the drugs to get paid.

  10. someone explain to me how the hell can you ship toxic waste/trucks on regular bases from mexico to usa crossing the border line espcially when smells so bad. this is just nonsense. loved the movie.

    • because the counselor is trying to make an easy buck and not get his hands dirty. No respect for him because he thinks he can just buy in. Thats my guess. Plus, who likes an attorney? Haha

  11. The Counselor added no value to “the drug deal.” There was no reason for him to be “involved.” The plot devolves from there into meaningless monologues about prices that have to be paid. And forget guy from Brazil’s attempt to treat the movie as some grand metaphor. It’s just junk. Two hours of my life I’ll never have back. That’s the “price you pay” when you make the decision to “get involved” with a bad movie.

  12. Westray left the country as the deal had collapsed. he said that he could wanish with his money in a bit. So he run to London with his cash that was accumulated from previous deals. Malkina decided to go after him to get those money (she said that she was not out) as her initial plot of taking over cartel’s drug shipment failed.

  13. Towards the end I thought it was a revenge story, Diaz’s character getting back at Pitt, she didn’t care about the drugs. She intentionally derailed the drug, in which Pitt was involved with, in order to spook him and get him to move all his money to one place, so she in turn could rob him.
    I think I prefer my version.

  14. And i think at the end the counselor will still be getting paid, but he could care less because laura died…
    And yes Diaz’s plan B was to go after Pitt’s money after the drug were taken back…
    And the device was a relay.. which without the alternator wouldn’t work therefore the truck wouldn’t start… however i believe that it also had a tracker as well…

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