Metascore
48

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 42
  2. Negative: 12 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 24, 2013
    60
    It never quite adds up. You can’t shake the feeling that both Scott and McCarthy are aiming for something here that remains out of their reach.
  2. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Oct 23, 2013
    67
    Fassbender, though, gets the kudos (again) as the man who has everything but loses it all – thanks partly to a slyly cast Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire) and, more important, to the character’s moral compass that points wherever he feels it should, until, of course, it points due south of heaven.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Russo
    Oct 24, 2013
    75
    This one has more in common with Scott’s “Thelma & Louise” in the memorable way it escalates, inevitably but also unexpectedly, into a spin through wilder country, and a meditation on bigger themes.
  4. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Oct 24, 2013
    58
    For a while, it’s fun to watch Bardem camp around in his rose-tinted glasses and stuck-my-finger-in-a-socket hairdo.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Oct 23, 2013
    100
    The Counselor achieves the almost unheard-of daily double of giving us the most outrageous sex scene of the year AND the most unforgettably brutal murder of the year. This is a badass journey from start to finish.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 24, 2013
    50
    All that — and yet, dull. Why?
  7. Reviewed by: Mark Dinning
    Oct 25, 2013
    60
    Ridley Scott finally gets to put Cormac McCarthy on the screen. It’s no No Country, but despite its less successful elements is shocking, powerful and — this just in — more gorgeously written than any movie you’ll see this year.
  8. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Oct 24, 2013
    33
    A jaw-dropping misfire. The dialogue is laughably pretentious, the plotting is virtually nonexistent, and the performances are so broad and cartoony that you keep wondering if it's all some sort of prank.
  9. Reviewed by: Kate Erbland
    Oct 24, 2013
    68
    A darkly tense drama that rarely hits anything resembling an emotional beat.
  10. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 24, 2013
    75
    Undoubtedly one of the weirder, narratively sophisticated adult dramas released by a major studio this year, The Counselor is also just enjoyable enough to hint at the unrealized potential of the main talent behind its creation.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Oct 24, 2013
    20
    McCarthy has not done himself or his reputation any favors with this original.
  12. 63
    Among the players, the wild-haired Bardem stands out, and a vampy Diaz sets the stage for uninhibited future in villain roles, or deadly-sexy car sales.
  13. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Oct 24, 2013
    38
    What you don’t expect is camp. The Counselor is more "Wild Things" than "No Country for Old Men", with which it shares a border town setting. But at least "Wild Things" knew what it was. The Counselor treats its material seriously and seems to have no idea it’s a joke that can’t even muster up a bit of smarty-pants Tarantino cleverness or energy.
  14. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 24, 2013
    40
    Ultimately, this dull tour of a thieving, primal underworld is just a lot of high-talking hogwash.
  15. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Oct 24, 2013
    70
    It shows us things — obscene and hilarious, yes, but also just as often harrowing and unforgettable — we never thought we’d see. It’s ridiculous, but it has a ragged nobility all its own.
  16. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Oct 24, 2013
    25
    Like “Traffic’’ on a massive dose of downers, Ridley Scott’s The Counselor is a great-looking and star-filled but lethally pretentious, talky, lethargic drama.
  17. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Oct 25, 2013
    55
    If The Counselor is a failure, it's at least a fascinating one. Much of the reason for that is time spent in the theater examining why the film isn't working.
  18. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 25, 2013
    63
    McCarthy's screenplay, a tangle of doublecrosses and dead men, has just been published. Those who really want to know what's going on would be advised to buy a copy.
  19. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    Oct 25, 2013
    0
    The Counselor is nothing but a dumb, gory, grab-bag of clichés and the biggest waste of talent since "Savages." It makes Oliver Stone look subtle.
  20. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 28, 2013
    50
    It's not so much a bad film as it is a disappointing one. A very disappointing one.
  21. Reviewed by: Dan Callahan
    Oct 25, 2013
    50
    What works for him (McCarthy) in a novel cannot be said to work for him here.
  22. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 24, 2013
    50
    Oddly, the published screenplay – while far from McCarthy's top-drawer – reads better than it plays. What's onscreen recalls a line from No Country: "It's a mess, ain't it, Sheriff?"
  23. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 24, 2013
    25
    It's possible there has never been anything like it. It contains memorable dialogue, vivid characters and several superb scenes, and yet it still manages to be wrong, a complete miscalculation.
  24. Reviewed by: Bill Weber
    Oct 23, 2013
    63
    The film doesn't temper enough of Cormac McCarthy's excesses, but Ridley Scott and his ensemble find enough meat in his scenario to make for diverting, bloody pleasure.
  25. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 24, 2013
    88
    In its cross-cultural breadth, director Ridley Scott’s smart and violent film merits comparison to Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic,” but the dialogue delivered by the stellar cast is incomparably McCarthy’s.
  26. Reviewed by: Colette Bancroft
    Oct 24, 2013
    100
    The Counselor explodes with violence that is grisly, but not gratuitous: McCarthy has a point to make. Wars create monsters, and the drug war is no exception.
  27. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Oct 23, 2013
    75
    No amount of needless chatter can quite dilute the power of The Counselor’s grim endgame, especially given the way its writer and director conspire to keep the threat offscreen, like some terrible, unseen force of nature.
  28. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 23, 2013
    70
    McCarthy’s voice comes through strongly enough to excuse the film’s excesses and cast its more generic plot elements in a new light.
  29. Reviewed by: Katey Rich
    Oct 24, 2013
    40
    Working as a screenwriter for the first time after years of seeing his novels successfully adapted to the screen, McCarthy is stretching his powers of language and mood – and, all too quickly, stretching his slim story and cast of characters way too far.
  30. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Oct 23, 2013
    30
    Despite its scaldingly hot cast and formidable writer/director combination, The Counselor is simply not a very likable or gratifying film. In fact, it's a bummer.
  31. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Oct 24, 2013
    100
    Mr. Scott’s seriousness isn’t always well served by the scripts he films, but in Mr. McCarthy he has found a partner with convictions about good and evil rather than canned formula.
  32. Reviewed by: Gabe Toro
    Oct 24, 2013
    42
    It’s as if “The Man Of Steel” was ninety minutes of supervillians shit-talking Superman, then casually sticking kryptonite in his face without even pretending it’s a surprise.
  33. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    Nov 20, 2013
    40
    It feels like a film that is attracted by the shape of love and pain, but is a long way from understanding the content.
  34. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Oct 24, 2013
    30
    The Counsellor is neither an outright disaster nor misunderstood masterpiece: it’s just a very bad idea for a film, proficiently executed.
  35. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Nov 12, 2013
    40
    At least Cameron Diaz gives it some welly as the gold-toothed femme fatale who may or may not hold all the cards.
  36. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Oct 24, 2013
    60
    For every camp element like Javier Bardem’s rainbow-vomit outfits or Diaz’s onanistic tryst with a car windshield, there are a dozen poetic-pulp moments that channel McCarthy’s pitiless view of the world to a tee.
  37. Reviewed by: Jamie Graham
    Oct 25, 2013
    80
    An absorbing thriller that favours vivid characters, profound ideas and Old Testament morals over propulsive plotting and set-pieces. With lots of blood.
  38. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 24, 2013
    38
    The overwritten script and the ridiculous plot combine to make The Counselor a frustrating experience.
  39. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 24, 2013
    30
    The script is nearly all dialogue, including several eloquent spoken passages toward the end, but it’s a lousy story, ineptly constructed and rendered far too difficult to follow.
  40. Reviewed by: Sam Weisberg
    Oct 29, 2013
    50
    The Counselor is the cumbersome end product of a high-minded writer trying to slum and a slick director aiming for cosmic depth.
  41. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Oct 24, 2013
    20
    What's missing is dramatic subtext and surprise, as well as any playfulness that might have kept us guessing about the plot.
  42. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Oct 24, 2013
    37
    A movie that, despite its strenuous efforts to appear hardened and sexy and sleek, is unforgivably phony, talky and dull.
User Score
4.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 190 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 81
  2. Negative: 42 out of 81
  1. Oct 25, 2013
    10
    In my ever-humble opinion, this is a saddening example of metacritic's inevitable deception. Many will see the generally unfavorable reception towards this film and write it off without the blink of an eye.

    Now I am in no way saying that my opinion is absolute (it so clearly is not), and I would also like to point out that I do not throw around 10-ratings lightly.
    This film is, without a doubt, one of the most brilliant films I have seen in years.
    Ridley Scott is an artist with a 'true vision', and I will not argue that it requires one to be on a certain wavelength in order to perceive this vision (I do not mean to sound pretentious).
    Every inch of Cormac McCarthy's dialogue is profoundly thought-provoking and unknowingly exposing,
    and the performances are brilliant to the point of the cast's A-list status coming off as a mere coincidental detail. Fassbender, Pitt, Diaz, Bardem, and Cruz all exhibit the same fearless resolve as Scott on the other side of the lense.
    Despite common criticism of the film's 'lack of cohesion' or 'identity confusion', I assert that this film's self-identity is actually stronger than most. Those who cannot recognize this cannot see the forest for the trees. Those who are not familiar with a more 'Art-house' approach to film-making/story-telling will most likely end up alienated. This movie makes no attempt to ease viewers into its twisted and bizarrely real world, and that is ENTIRELY intentional.

    Again, I do not mean to sound aggressive towards those many who dislike this film.
    I simply wanted to present my personal appreciation for this film which I consider monumental, and for those intrigued but disenchanted by the negative reception to persevere until they can form their own opinion.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 25, 2013
    0
    Holy this was just god awful, dialogue is not human, women are treated as nothing but sex objects, minorities are all portrayed as bad, there's no discernible characters development, it's just awful save your money Full Review »
  3. Oct 26, 2013
    1
    Wow, I was surprised at how bad this film was. Coming from such a great director I was more disappointed than when I saw Prometheus. First of all the writing in this movie is god awful. I found myself often questioning what was going through their minds when they wrote some of these down? Most of the conversations in the movie are cringe worthy and don't advance the plot further. The character development is just as bad as the dialogue. I had no emotion to put in any of the characters, they are all hollow shells that just take up screen space. The plot is sickeningly boring and confusing. It jump cuts around several story lines and doesn't bother to stop and explain them to any degree. They just kind of assume you know whats going on. If there is any positive note to hit its that the cinematography was great. It carries this No Country For Old Men kind of feel that's both visually appealing for the viewer and compliments the mood that the movie sets. Ridley Scott's worst work to date, but the good thing is that his movies can't get much worse than this. Full Review »