User Score
4.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 196 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 83 out of 196
  2. Negative: 77 out of 196

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  1. Nov 30, 2014
    0
    The movie opens with a sex scene which is simultaneously excessive and boring. The Cruz character, named Laura, asks to be pleasured “down there” and the Fassbinder character, the nameless Counselor, obviously obliges.

    Follows a series of disjointed and disconnected scenes, to introduce the other main players: Reiner, a Mexican drug trafficker with a bad haircut; Malkina, a “femme
    The movie opens with a sex scene which is simultaneously excessive and boring. The Cruz character, named Laura, asks to be pleasured “down there” and the Fassbinder character, the nameless Counselor, obviously obliges.

    Follows a series of disjointed and disconnected scenes, to introduce the other main players: Reiner, a Mexican drug trafficker with a bad haircut; Malkina, a “femme fatale” with a weird name and attitude and Westray, a guy who knows other guys.

    All these people are played by top of the crop actors, directed by Ridley Scott, with a screen play by Cormac MCCarthy and yet the final result is an overlong, bloated, boring movie.

    The plot involves a vague, messy drug deal and an even vaguer involvement of the Counselor. As everybody who watched Breaking Bad knows, Mexican drug lords get very upset when somebody messes with their drugs, so rightful revenge ensues.

    Unfortunately, in this case the revenge is not fair and the Mexican guys should know. In one of many weird scenes, we see a main player spying a conversation between the Counselor and Reiner, during which it is spelled out that the Counselor is innocent. And yet the ax will fall on him and on his beloved Laura.

    The violence is disturbing but predictable. When Reiner and the Counselor coolly discus about decapitation devices, you can be sure that someone will be decapitated before the end credits. The same when they talk about snuff movies…

    Cameron Diaz playing femme fatale Malkina is especially disturbing. Sporting appropriate sprayed-on clothes and super high-heels, with huge sculpted cheekbones, she is supposed to convey fear and mystery. But I just found her cheekbones too distracting.
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  2. Aug 1, 2014
    8
    I found the first half of this movie a struggle to watch and had to stop. I finished it today and felt somewhat redeemed. The second half delivers a bit more payoff, but don't consider this an action movie, because it isn't. It's arthouse, it's well done, the actors perform to perfection, the plot is airtight and the writing is brilliant. That said, I didn't exactly enjoy watching it. ItI found the first half of this movie a struggle to watch and had to stop. I finished it today and felt somewhat redeemed. The second half delivers a bit more payoff, but don't consider this an action movie, because it isn't. It's arthouse, it's well done, the actors perform to perfection, the plot is airtight and the writing is brilliant. That said, I didn't exactly enjoy watching it. It is a tragedy with no uplifting moments. That doesn't make it a bad movie, but I was left wondering what, exactly, DID I get out of watching it? It's filled with elite philosophy, elite in the sense that it doesn't apply or even make sense for most people to think along these lines. There was one speech I really appreciated. Maybe everyone will find something to connect with. At any rate, this movie is high quality but whether you'll enjoy it or not is a matter of taste and expectation. Expand
  3. Jul 20, 2014
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have a test for any and all art forms, if you can make fun of it, there's a problem with it, this abominable waste of celluloid did not even qualify or register.
    The so called A-list cast epitomized contract/paycheck players-Cameron Diaz in the end outwits all...I rest my case.

    Scott's Blade Runner was my awakening into how much can be conveyed through a film's actor's, sound design, special effects, dialogue, lighting and soundtrack, Scott created a dark dystopian future where the humans/replicants were worth saving, loving, fighting-dying for, even the diabolical Roy Batty made us see, made us feel, empathize with his perspective, his love, his short life.

    In closing, our ancestors scratched more movement and moment and feeling and purpose on cave walls, mister Scott, hang up the lens, play shuffleboard, do something, but please, please don't make another, whatever The Counselor was ....and anyone who can steer past my review and give The Counselor a chance, save your large popcorn container and stow it under your seat for future use as a vomit pail.
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  4. chw
    Jul 17, 2014
    5
    The Counselor had one of the worst stories/screenplays ever written. I gave it a 5 only because of the acting which was good, but still...
  5. Jul 14, 2014
    0
    Don't waste your time on this movie. Totally disjointed plot. The term "counselor" was used in every other sentence. Acting was pretty good all around, but even good actors couldn't salvage this trainwreck.
  6. Jul 14, 2014
    4
    Ok, this was pretty nasty. It might have worked if the plot had provided better motivation for the events that unfolded, particularly why Fassbender's character got involved in the drugs trade. But it seemed really to be trading on the No Country for Old Men formula ... or is it the Game of Thrones formula? Happy endings are not on the menu.
  7. Jun 1, 2014
    4
    Not a good movie. Don't get lured by the big names attached to this movie. While their acting is actually good, especially Fassbender who is quite convincing, the [lack of] story is embarassing and quickly becomes an excuse for an escalating and gratuitous violence. Then, there's the meaningless philosophical exchanges between the characters, trying to make you believe you are watching aNot a good movie. Don't get lured by the big names attached to this movie. While their acting is actually good, especially Fassbender who is quite convincing, the [lack of] story is embarassing and quickly becomes an excuse for an escalating and gratuitous violence. Then, there's the meaningless philosophical exchanges between the characters, trying to make you believe you are watching a great movie.
    Goods: Michael Fassbender & Javier Bardem. The scene where the truck gets washed, repaired, repainted after a shooting by men and women who "just do their job" and clean the blood everywhere, as if nothing serious had happened. Bad: pretty much everything else, amongs other the robotic acting by Cameron Diaz, who still tries to convince she is attractive. Ugly: violent and bloody scenes just for the sake of it (that scene with Brad Pitt' character being killed in London is just ridiculous).
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  8. May 26, 2014
    2
    I can truly see why the overall score ratings are close for both, positive and negative, reviews. It all relies in the story, where must of all characters have a philosophical, similar kind of elevated speech which some cannot digest as being veracious while others claim it was very " artsy" and intellectually attractive.
    I am sorry, but I am in the first group. not even so many great
    I can truly see why the overall score ratings are close for both, positive and negative, reviews. It all relies in the story, where must of all characters have a philosophical, similar kind of elevated speech which some cannot digest as being veracious while others claim it was very " artsy" and intellectually attractive.
    I am sorry, but I am in the first group. not even so many great actors can rescue this movie from its awful script.
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  9. May 2, 2014
    1
    I'll start out with the pros. Good production value, acting was slightly north of mediocre. Moods set in the begging of the film are effective and moving. And the Cons. This movie was a disgusting display of a lack of respect for human life. It's attempts to build a solid logical architecture behind the plot, causes it to be have unnecessary heaps endless of pseudo-philosophical monologuesI'll start out with the pros. Good production value, acting was slightly north of mediocre. Moods set in the begging of the film are effective and moving. And the Cons. This movie was a disgusting display of a lack of respect for human life. It's attempts to build a solid logical architecture behind the plot, causes it to be have unnecessary heaps endless of pseudo-philosophical monologues that are boring and ineffective. This is a film for the kind of person who watches an actual cartel beheading and is left asking "That's all?". This movie is incredibly brutal. This is coming from a gamer, in fact I enjoy the violent ones, even the most violent and gory ones. Hell I was in a better mood after watching "A Serbian Film" than when this movie's credit's rolled. The Counselor went way over the edge and into a dark unforgivable side of humanity, and I fear it may have left me with some permanent psychological scars that will probably never leave me. If that's what you're looking for, this is the movie for you. Expand
  10. Apr 27, 2014
    0
    One of the worst movies I have seen in about a year. This proves that no matter who is attached to a film it could still be a disaster. Don't ask me what happened, I have no idea. Nor do I care.
  11. Apr 26, 2014
    0
    The Counselor is beyond terrible. From the moment it started to the very last scene, it irritated me so much because of how incomprehensible it was. From the long meaningless conversations to the poor directing, the counselor could not have been made any worse.
  12. Apr 6, 2014
    0
    One of the most depressing movies ever made. And surely one of the worst. I would rank it 2nd worst ever after Tree of Life which is simply untoppable. Non exisiting story, endless pointless scenes and pseudo-philosophical, yawn inducing dialogue rivalling even Matrix III.

    I find it hard to fathom that this trainwreck was directed by the same man who brought us Blade Runner, Alien,
    One of the most depressing movies ever made. And surely one of the worst. I would rank it 2nd worst ever after Tree of Life which is simply untoppable. Non exisiting story, endless pointless scenes and pseudo-philosophical, yawn inducing dialogue rivalling even Matrix III.

    I find it hard to fathom that this trainwreck was directed by the same man who brought us Blade Runner, Alien, Gladiator and Thelma & Louise. Ridley, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    PS.: Brad Pitt seems to become the ultimate seal of approval for crap movies: Benjamin Button, Babel, World War Z, Tree of Life and now this abomination. Next time I see his name on a DVD I'm gonna avoid it like the plague ...
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  13. Mar 2, 2014
    4
    All the time you just sit there waiting for the guy to save the day, in an original way. Not happy ending? It´s ok... but, what about the acting, the dialogs, the screens? Nothing
  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 16, 2014
    1
    While certainly not as gory and sexually exploitive as some, it is meaningless trash, as one other reviewer put it "a waste of talent" of some great stars who put in their usual good work. The plot is stupid. Not one of these characters has ever seen a spy or cartel movie? They don't protect themselves in any way. They go home and sit around? They are not suspicious of beautiful women whoWhile certainly not as gory and sexually exploitive as some, it is meaningless trash, as one other reviewer put it "a waste of talent" of some great stars who put in their usual good work. The plot is stupid. Not one of these characters has ever seen a spy or cartel movie? They don't protect themselves in any way. They go home and sit around? They are not suspicious of beautiful women who just happen to pass by and fall for them? They walk around the streets thinking they are invisible? Expand
  16. Feb 14, 2014
    0
    Brad Pitt should think twice before he lets people put his name on idiotic films like this just to attract movie goers. Speechless ! I could not bring myself to watch the movie past the 15 minute mark. It looks like the producers made their initial investment back and came few bucks on top thanks to Brad and that's all that matters, I guess. I am sure there are some idiots out there whoBrad Pitt should think twice before he lets people put his name on idiotic films like this just to attract movie goers. Speechless ! I could not bring myself to watch the movie past the 15 minute mark. It looks like the producers made their initial investment back and came few bucks on top thanks to Brad and that's all that matters, I guess. I am sure there are some idiots out there who will give it a four or five stars and call it an "art", but believe me there is NOTHING artistic about this piece of crap. Poor acting and vulgar opening scene does not qualify as art. I understand there is a scene with Cameron Diaz rubbing her kooch against the Ferrari !? This is why you gave it four or five stars, you moron(s) ? Go rent a porn ! I, also, read that director's brother jumped of the bridge. Now I know why. Expand
  17. Feb 11, 2014
    5
    This movie has a lot of clever lines, A LOT. That's mainly because the entire movie is practically all conversation-making the 2 hour film seem like 4 hours. It is suspenseful with many implications and assumptions to string the movie along. But it is not very thrilling. Note to the film maker: DIAZ SHOULD NOT HAVE THAT MANY CLOSE UPS! She is not sexy!
  18. 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.
  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. Feb 8, 2014
    3
    This movie was the most surprisingly, disappointed movie i've ever watch in 2013. With the A list casts and their actings, they can't help how mess this movie's plot. Really disappointed
  22. Feb 8, 2014
    1
    This is one of the saddest excuse for a movie I have seen in a long time :( Two hours of my life that I will never get back. What a travesty. Sometimes ingredients just don't mix. I tried orange juice and cola once. Never again. Mr. Scott tried mixing philosophy, a megalomanic script and his own pretentious ego. This movie tries to convey some sort of sensuality about violence or what? OfThis is one of the saddest excuse for a movie I have seen in a long time :( Two hours of my life that I will never get back. What a travesty. Sometimes ingredients just don't mix. I tried orange juice and cola once. Never again. Mr. Scott tried mixing philosophy, a megalomanic script and his own pretentious ego. This movie tries to convey some sort of sensuality about violence or what? Of course, I didn't 'get' the movie. But I'm glad I didn't. Oh, and don't be fooled by miss Diaz trying to pretend she can act. She can't. :( Expand
  23. Feb 1, 2014
    0
    This is a dishonest film. It is not what it says on the tin. From the trailer, cast, director, synopsis etc you are probably expecting a high octane, on the edge of your seat thriller, with a strong plot line and characters you can love or hate. Sorry but it does not give that at all. This simply is a self-indulgent film (self-indulgent by the writer), with actors badly deliveringThis is a dishonest film. It is not what it says on the tin. From the trailer, cast, director, synopsis etc you are probably expecting a high octane, on the edge of your seat thriller, with a strong plot line and characters you can love or hate. Sorry but it does not give that at all. This simply is a self-indulgent film (self-indulgent by the writer), with actors badly delivering unintelligible lines of philosophic dialogue with neither rhyme nor reason as to how they got there and what their motives are. This is the sort of thing you would expect to have to sit through, not too willingly, when you have a very good friend who is taking screenplay classes and has to do an obscure showcase. Most students, if not all, refrain from applying a Hollywood budget, getting Ridley Scott to direct and having Brad Pitt et al in these showcases though and maybe McCarthy should have thought twice about having his screenplay debut in such a fashion and kept to the more traditional avenue of a few friends in a small theatre. I am sure his friends would have said nice things about it but I can't think of one. Expand
  24. Jan 31, 2014
    0
    Whenever I watch such "movies" I feel ashamed for their "creators". I myself don't even feel insulted by the garbage they threw at me from the screen disdain for moviegoers has become common place nowadays. R.Scott was lucky to make couple of good movies, since then all he cares about is money. What was he expecting the spectators to say after having watched the film? Amazing interiors",Whenever I watch such "movies" I feel ashamed for their "creators". I myself don't even feel insulted by the garbage they threw at me from the screen disdain for moviegoers has become common place nowadays. R.Scott was lucky to make couple of good movies, since then all he cares about is money. What was he expecting the spectators to say after having watched the film? Amazing interiors", :"fast cheetahs", "Fassbinder licking muffin of Penelope Cruz who complains that it's dirty", "Queer Bardem", Diaz screwing the Ferrari" "Pitt loses his head due to idiotic device"... What a sham! But the worst part is dialogues. A good movie talking should do three things: move forward the plot, explore the characters, elicit some emotions. Here you have long imbecile speeches which try to pretend sexy, philosophic or smart. EVERY single person speaks as if they majored at ancient Greek literature. My god, what happened to good screenwriters? Studios should give the process back to independent producers, otherwise, in 5 years, people will go the cinemas just to eat some popcorn and play bowing Expand
  25. Jan 11, 2014
    0
    There was nothing for me to like about this movie. The story evolves around a Counsellor and the people surrounding him. For reasons unbeknown to us he decides to go into the drug business, and pseudo-intellectual existential dialogues between the protagonists ensue, with the main focus being on greed and how sexual everything appears to them. Cheetahs chasing jackrabbits is sexual, aThere was nothing for me to like about this movie. The story evolves around a Counsellor and the people surrounding him. For reasons unbeknown to us he decides to go into the drug business, and pseudo-intellectual existential dialogues between the protagonists ensue, with the main focus being on greed and how sexual everything appears to them. Cheetahs chasing jackrabbits is sexual, a yellow Ferrari is so sexual that Diaz' character decides to make-out with it (yes, you read that correctly). The Counsellor is constantly being counselled on life and it's meaning by philosophical drug-dealers and cartel members. The tediousness of these overdrawn, often repetitive and rather self-indulged exchanges make the film feel so ill paced. The chemistry between the two main couples (Fassbender-Cruz, Bardem-Diaz) was non-existent. The characters are hardly developed. Were we suppose to empathise with the Counsellor? The acting was NOT good. The ultimate attraction to this film, for me, was the cast who in it's majority has seldom - if ever - let me down. And yet, here, even they were, to put it mildly, not on top form. The emphasis had been given on the aforementioned dialogue, something that was more obvious when the main plot of the film became increasingly convoluted and thus hard to follow. At the end all I felt was content that it was over. This is, unfortunately, the worst film I've seen this year. Expand
  26. Jan 7, 2014
    4
    What happened here? Ridley Scott seriously didn't realize that something went wrong while filming this movie. Maybe he was too distracted by the fact that "The Counselor" is his first film after Tony's death. That was harsh, sorry.
    But nevertheless: How bad is it? (Penélope Cruz alias Laura) Very. Very bad.
  27. Dec 20, 2013
    0
    I recently viewed "12 Years a Slave" and as I was watching the brutality of this film I was constantly reminded of "The Counselor". These movies have absolutely nothing in common other than the simple fact that man just cannot help its hatred for its fellow man. This movie is the modern version of just that time when people were property and were totally expendable with no remorse orI recently viewed "12 Years a Slave" and as I was watching the brutality of this film I was constantly reminded of "The Counselor". These movies have absolutely nothing in common other than the simple fact that man just cannot help its hatred for its fellow man. This movie is the modern version of just that time when people were property and were totally expendable with no remorse or thought of them as humans. This a mess of a movie and I would beg you not to see it...the graphic and brutal violence in the film has not left my mind since the viewing and reminds me how far we have not come since the 1800s. Expand
  28. Dec 17, 2013
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. 3 points for Javier Bardem's wardrobe, 0 points for everything else.

    Heineken.
    And here's some more characters because I have nothing else to say about this film.
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  29. Dec 5, 2013
    7
    This film has a few pretty great aspects: casting, writing, and tone. I didn't know what to expect from this film I kind of thought No Country meets Miami Vice (thanks to the look of Bardem's character) but I was way off. This movie is a lot more like Killing Them Softly than Scarface. Bardem stole the show for me and it was a very interesting role for Cameron Diaz. I think this one'sThis film has a few pretty great aspects: casting, writing, and tone. I didn't know what to expect from this film I kind of thought No Country meets Miami Vice (thanks to the look of Bardem's character) but I was way off. This movie is a lot more like Killing Them Softly than Scarface. Bardem stole the show for me and it was a very interesting role for Cameron Diaz. I think this one's worth a shot but I can see why it missed for some. Expand
  30. Dec 4, 2013
    8
    Don't watch this film expecting gratuitous violence because you will be disappointed. It is a thought provoking piece of art. The dialogue is amazing, so much so, that one would be able to write an essay on some of the philosophical ideas presented. It was a great experience and definitely a film you may want to experience twice. Although the acting was also top notch, there were someDon't watch this film expecting gratuitous violence because you will be disappointed. It is a thought provoking piece of art. The dialogue is amazing, so much so, that one would be able to write an essay on some of the philosophical ideas presented. It was a great experience and definitely a film you may want to experience twice. Although the acting was also top notch, there were some pretty gritty sex scenes that may have been a tad unnecessary (car). The story progressed slowly but it never felt long by any means. A+ Expand
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.