User Score
5.2

Mixed or average reviews- based on 216 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 76 out of 216
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  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
    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.
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  2. Oct 27, 2013
    10
    I’ve seldom seen published reviews of a film that have so misunderstood a film. Banging on THE COUNSELOR as a failed thriller is like disparaging a hat for not being a shoe.

    THE COUNSELOR announces what it is, early on and self-referentially not a thriller but a moral fable, a cautionary tale and then proceeds to deliver just that, impeccably. No hair-raising car chases, no
    I’ve seldom seen published reviews of a film that have so misunderstood a film. Banging on THE COUNSELOR as a failed thriller is like disparaging a hat for not being a shoe.

    THE COUNSELOR announces what it is, early on and self-referentially not a thriller but a moral fable, a cautionary tale and then proceeds to deliver just that, impeccably. No hair-raising car chases, no miraculous escapes, no ingenious last-minute victory for the hero, and thank god for it.

    Austere in its point of view, anti-naturalistic by design, and florid in its dazzlingly tawdry material surfaces, this story moves toward its inevitable outcome without missing a beat. In essence, it says don’t trifle with evil, guy…don’t even. Because evil will answer your invitation, will visit its tragic dance upon you. Here, watch it destroy you in a cold torrent of pain.

    Scott and McCarthy deliver this excellent work on their own terms and within their own parameters, no hedging, no apologies. The plot is always two steps ahead of the audience, so pay attention please. The dialogue, which has elsewhere been quoted with jeers, actually plays magnificently. Along the way are some amazing performances, Fassbender as, fundamentally, an innocent looking for a fast, casual score, Diaz as a devastated soul, Pitt as a candidly self-aware crook. And of course the ever inventive and brilliant Javier Bardem as the sybaritic ‘mastermind’ with a stripe of stupid running through him.

    If you merely want someone to root for, go to a ball game. If you want fast food, look elsewhere. Scott and McCarthy serve up a coherent fictional world to which the viewer must simply surrender. This film will last and be revisited again and again, long after other routine thriller fare has been lost and forgotten in the streaming video graveyards.
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  3. Nov 13, 2013
    10
    I can quite understand why some will not take favor with The Counselor; one's who can only see what's put right in front of them. The mystical Cormac McCarthy presents some pieces and expects, demands his audience to pay close attention and then decide exactly what happened. Just like most of his characters we are only shown so much, but certainly enough to know up from down and right fromI can quite understand why some will not take favor with The Counselor; one's who can only see what's put right in front of them. The mystical Cormac McCarthy presents some pieces and expects, demands his audience to pay close attention and then decide exactly what happened. Just like most of his characters we are only shown so much, but certainly enough to know up from down and right from wrong. A great thought provoking film, which I admit is one of my favorite types of films. I hate leaving a cinema knowing all I will ever know about a film. It's a shame great films like this, one's that leap far away from the mundane can only be appreciated by some while others expect the mundane and are thus disappointed by an 'outside the box' presentation. Outside the box is what you should crave!!

    The Counselor is sharp, stylish cinema that cuts out all the crap and delivers only what it needs to & the rest is up to you.
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  4. Oct 27, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Counselor is one of the best films I have seen in years--mesmerizing, ethereal, even captivating in spite of the theme. Critics expecting, or insisting on, an action-adventure genre picture where everything is neatly solved at the end were disappointed, and responded hyperbolically. The film will fail at the box office in this country, but it doesn't fail as a film. Here are a few random thoughts, in no particular order:
    First, the Counselor himself is not an innocent, naive, or likable figure (except in his relationship with Laura). He is from the beginning a morally compromised player--as we can see in his arrogance, in his dealings with women, with Reiner, and with the mysterious figure who gets him to El Jefe, and even in his odd question to Westray about whether he has slept with Malkina. Now that everything in his life seems perfect, he is driven to destroy it, piling on debts that put his "back against the wall" and "force" him to get involved with the drug deal. In reality he is driven to annihilation by something inside him. (I thought of Freud, Civilization and its Discontents).
    Second, we know very little about the drug deal and how it falls apart, and that little we do know is given to us in bits and pieces. We are exactly in the place of the protagonist, who also is surrounded by a menace he does not fully understand. It is a very uncomfortable place. In the end there is nothing he can do, except aimlessly travel and plead. By the time he realizes he is in trouble, it is already too late. The idea that human individual action may be useless is one that is hard to accept. We want to see the hero solve things, and we aren't going to get that here.
    Third, the dialogue is gorgeous and endlessly quotable, just as the film itself is beautifully shot, edited, visualized.
    Fourth, the sequence that ends the life of Westray is one of the most chilling horror scenes I have ever watched. It is described for us early on; we feel the suspense as Westray is followed, and then we are left to watch as the horrific scene, whose ending we already know, plays out.
    Fifth, and finally, the performances are first rate. Pitt, Bardem, Cruz, Diaz, Blades, Perez, Leguizamo, and others are at the top of their form. Fassbender in particular is a stand-out for his ability to create a character from a sparsely written role. The best scene, in retrospect, is his phone conversation with El Jefe, photographed through his dirty windshield. El Jefe gently but ruthlessly tells him that it is over and there is nothing for him to do. Fassbender's pleas--"Maybe we could meet someplace"; "Can you help me?" are, like all of his dialogue, almost banal (in contrast to the glorious words of the rest) but he is able to use that contrast to create an unforgettable character. We don't know what happens to him at the end. It would almost be too much to bear.
    I'm sorry that this film is not doing well at the box office in the US. My only consolation is that this film--like Vertigo, Touch of Evil (which it resembles in some ways), or Blade Runner itself--will get its reevaluation, and be seen as the classic that it is.
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  5. Oct 25, 2013
    10
    The Counselor will leave many mystified even those who enjoy it. The story envelops rather than unspools, a guttural experience. As Scott stages the confined action, bouncing from location to location like a Pinter play's moving sets, the musical score pulsates with dread. In one scene, a nameless assailant strings a steel wire across a desert road, intending to slice a speeding biker whoThe Counselor will leave many mystified even those who enjoy it. The story envelops rather than unspools, a guttural experience. As Scott stages the confined action, bouncing from location to location like a Pinter play's moving sets, the musical score pulsates with dread. In one scene, a nameless assailant strings a steel wire across a desert road, intending to slice a speeding biker who will eventually appear. That's the movie in one note: taught, prophetic, and hushed. We don't have our finger on why this is happening, but we can feel what's coming. We know it's grisly. We can't look away. Expand
  6. Oct 25, 2013
    10
    A MUST SEE MOVIE. you will probably leave stunned at what you have just seen as you still be taking it all in. this is not only a well directed movie, but also a set of very phenomenal philosophical ideas and points of view. the cast is filled with great stars (as you already know) and bad ass attire that is just enviable. this is not your ordinary walk in the park action movie or movie inA MUST SEE MOVIE. you will probably leave stunned at what you have just seen as you still be taking it all in. this is not only a well directed movie, but also a set of very phenomenal philosophical ideas and points of view. the cast is filled with great stars (as you already know) and bad ass attire that is just enviable. this is not your ordinary walk in the park action movie or movie in general. this is a real work of art that will make you cringe, ponder, and want to become a director or a writer. simply said if you are not a drone like individual and gravitate more towards intellectual and unique movies/stories this movie is for you. Expand
  7. Oct 25, 2013
    10
    Great acting done with great writing. You can't make violence look beautiful but the hints and metaphors given by the actors is great and non-stop. If you don't like acting by great actors than stick to DWTS, SNOOKI, THE KARDASHIANS and all the other "reality' crud. You want great acting that will take you to a reality that the actors expose you to then see The Counselor. As for theGreat acting done with great writing. You can't make violence look beautiful but the hints and metaphors given by the actors is great and non-stop. If you don't like acting by great actors than stick to DWTS, SNOOKI, THE KARDASHIANS and all the other "reality' crud. You want great acting that will take you to a reality that the actors expose you to then see The Counselor. As for the negativity by some critics just remember their names so you can mark them off your list of those to heed. Expand
  8. Oct 26, 2013
    10
    Great movie and well-acted! It's mind-boggling how some could say that it is crap. Compared to other movies which were rated high or higher, The Counselor has more depth. But, it'snot a feel good or happy ending movie because it projects reality.
  9. Oct 25, 2013
    10
    Ridley Scott is my favorite director and my inspiration to become a filmaker.The Counselor is a dark and vioelent movie that is mostly an unforgettable experience
  10. Oct 28, 2013
    10
    What a sexist movie!!!! and what a waste of good actors! IMHO Ridley Scott really missed this one and it doesnt worth spending your money for it. Those who give a 10 to this movie must be the type of guy who also say "Make me a sandwich".
  11. Feb 9, 2014
    9
    What a divider! I loved this movie. I think a lot of people `casually` watch films without paying attention and this one deserves it. I write very few reviews but wanted to affect the scoring balance as I nearly didn`t watch this due to poor reviews. I give it 85/100 but it needs rounding up, so be it.
  12. Nov 11, 2013
    10
    Like a McCarthy novel, one time through isn't enough to really see what's going on. I liked the film and unlike much of the criticism, didn't find it boring or confusing. There's ambiguity and narrative gaps, but McCarthy does that and I'm willing to bet there's a good reason for it. I'm not spoiling anything, but this is what I understood about the film..

    Unspeakable evil exists in
    Like a McCarthy novel, one time through isn't enough to really see what's going on. I liked the film and unlike much of the criticism, didn't find it boring or confusing. There's ambiguity and narrative gaps, but McCarthy does that and I'm willing to bet there's a good reason for it. I'm not spoiling anything, but this is what I understood about the film..

    Unspeakable evil exists in men. Don't get close to it, or it will get you. God, if He exists, doesn't care. The choices you make create your reality. As it was stated in No Country, "you can't stop what's coming.'" It feels bleak, but fully accepting the reality, as only one character in this movie does, can be liberating. You can't count on justice. You have to make your own.
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  13. Nov 14, 2013
    9
    This is an excellent film. Were it not for the mistake of miscasting Cameron Diaz, it would be a masterpiece. Even as is, it's not far off. The main criticism I've heard is that the plot is "incoherent" or "difficult to follow". All I can do in response is quote the film's existential center, Westray: "Are you a mental defective?" I'm not usually a fan of intellectual elitism, but I mustThis is an excellent film. Were it not for the mistake of miscasting Cameron Diaz, it would be a masterpiece. Even as is, it's not far off. The main criticism I've heard is that the plot is "incoherent" or "difficult to follow". All I can do in response is quote the film's existential center, Westray: "Are you a mental defective?" I'm not usually a fan of intellectual elitism, but I must say this film is perfectly coherent and the plot is brilliantly apparent to anyone with a fully-functioning frontal lobe. No, the script does not spoon feed the audience, but that only makes the film even more entertaining. As I mentioned before, the film's only flaw is that Cameron Diaz is attempting to play an evil genius. She is completely wrong for the role. I haven't seen her in a ton of films, so I don't know if she has any acting talent in any "type" of role, but I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's very gifted at portraying "bubbly" characters who are sexually effervescent in a very playful way. This role is not in her wheelhouse. When she stumbles over Cormac McCarthy's ingenious existential monologues one can only cringe and lament that the film did not stick the landing because of this one glaring flaw. Her character is self-parodic because she does not have the talent to make these brilliant soliloquies seem believable. Frankly Diaz makes Malkina seem like a ditz, especially in the final monologue which with another actress, Charlize Theron maybe, would have been a home run. This film is the best argument against the drug war that I've ever seen, and the dialogue is the best I've ever heard in any movie, period. Except when it's clumsily spit out of Cameron Diaz's mouth. The material was over her head. The other actors, Brad Pitt especially, take the excellent dialogue and run with it. Expand
  14. Mar 1, 2014
    9
    Just saw it for a second time.
    I'm a lot more appreciative of the movie in this second viewing.
    The production design is simply awesome. It also completely revisited my view of Malkina, who I now believe is not a mastermind. In fact, I believe she identifies more with the jackrabbit, but has a fascination with the cheetah (represented by the cartel). Greed being the ultimate
    Just saw it for a second time.
    I'm a lot more appreciative of the movie in this second viewing.
    The production design is simply awesome.

    It also completely revisited my view of Malkina, who I now believe is not a mastermind. In fact, I believe she identifies more with the jackrabbit, but has a fascination with the cheetah (represented by the cartel). Greed being the ultimate motivator. Revisit her lines, in the enddialogue, or her last conversation with Reiner. Imo, she's not the malign mastermind I also took her for after the first viewing, her character is more complex, a lot more human (as she explains what humans are in the end).

    The first time through, the philosophical dialogue doesn't give you enough time to digest it. So, unfortunately, it comes over as blasé mumbojumbo. The good news is that once you get a grasp on it in subsequent viewings, it starts to make sense and you can relate to it through the imagery.
    This is a movie with some consistence, where the simple dialogue lines hide a lot of information.

    I'm not going to pretend that everything in this movie works, but it's an effort I can really appreciate, an attempt at something a little different than the fast-food movies we're consuming all too often.
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  15. Feb 8, 2014
    10
    After you wach this movie you can feel a hole into your stomach.This is not a movie is a greek tragedy. a very sad poem converted into a movie.The traffic of narchotics is just a background. it could be any other one.Is not a matter of good and bad like a police movie.is a matter of destiny.You have to read Faulkner or melville or kafka to understand and feel and touch the greatness ofAfter you wach this movie you can feel a hole into your stomach.This is not a movie is a greek tragedy. a very sad poem converted into a movie.The traffic of narchotics is just a background. it could be any other one.Is not a matter of good and bad like a police movie.is a matter of destiny.You have to read Faulkner or melville or kafka to understand and feel and touch the greatness of some tragedies.We put together two genius like ridley Scott and Cormac Maccarthy and the result is this shakesperian tragedy.
    No matter the jumps or interruptions of the plot they are intentional to make your brain start to work.
    There is a sense of emptiness and loneliness that you can almost touch with your fingertips.
    The mesage is that we are puppets in the hands of a higher destiny.Its like the ancient greek tragedies where the humans are mere instruments in the hands of the gods.The druglords take the place of ancient gods.they are unreachable and nobody can discuss their decissions.Nobody can see them
    but you know they have eyes and slaves everywhere.
    This is not a movie about drug traficking is about destiny,about human weaknesses and the evil they can bring into everybodys lives.
    In short its not a movie for everybody but is great very great........... and also very devastating.
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  16. Feb 9, 2014
    10
    From start to finish, it is perfectly acted, with philosophical depth that only few may understand let alone truly appreciate.

    The generally negative reviews illuminate only that the mass public and supposed 'professional' critics are blind to brilliant film making and flawless cinematic execution with this sort of power and magnitude. There are few films that will submerge you into a
    From start to finish, it is perfectly acted, with philosophical depth that only few may understand let alone truly appreciate.

    The generally negative reviews illuminate only that the mass public and supposed 'professional' critics are blind to brilliant film making and flawless cinematic execution with this sort of power and magnitude. There are few films that will submerge you into a world this dark and thought provoking.

    'This film is without a doubt, one of the most brilliant films I've seen in years'
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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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.