Film of the Day (04/17/18): The Counselor

The Counselor
Written By Cormac McCarthy
Directed by Ridley Scott

Being such a huge fan of Cormac McCarthy’s work, I have been excited for a while to finally see this. I didn’t pay all the negative reviews any mind, not only because to each their own, but also because I understand that McCarthy’s prose isn’t for everyone and I didn’t know what to expect in this format. Now, to be clesr, he also wrote The Sunset Limited (which is awesome), but he adapted that from his own play and it was essentially one 90 minute dialogue scene with two characters, so it was much easier to control.

I definitely enjoyed this film, though o may have had unfair expectations. Teaming up with such a capable, veteran director and a powerful cast made for, on paper, a sure fire hit. While critics and audiences may disagree, I think everyone involved held their own and delivered a good film worthy of a watch. McCarthy’s writing is wordy and philosophical, which some may find unrealistic in modern  times, but I found it refreshing to hear dialogue that didn’t feel like it could be cut out and pasted into every other crime thriller. It felt unique to the screenwriter, which I rrally appreciated.

I know some said that it lacked thrills, but I found myself engaged throughout the story. When I got to the halfway point, I was surprised, as it felt like I had only been watching for 20-30 minutes. Maybe Cormac’s writing just has a different effect on me compared to most. I would accept that, having thoroughly enjoyed some of his most challenging work in novel form (Suttree and Blood Meridian come to mind).

I really enjoyed his grip on the unique characters. Some ruthless and cunning, some arrogant and in over their heads. Everyone played a part in making the story come together, with some very well-placed, full circle moments in the final scenes. And if you watched the scene of the leopards chasing rabbits and didn’t think that was trying to tell you something about the characters involved and the overall nature of man, you weren’t paying attention.

It’s a bleak and morbid picture, and not interested whatsoever in holding your hand or giving out standard plot mechanics. It asks more of you, from the perspectives of both attention span and deep thought. Seemingly small scenes and small conversations take on large meaning and heavy weight. It’s the kind of film that may not roll the credits leaving you feeling instantly satisfied, but your mind will keep comin back to it. It can be very esoteric and violent, painting a greedy picture of man that you may not enjoy looking at.

Just like life.

2 comments

    • I’m a huge fan of his work as well, which is why I thought maybe I was a bit biased. But ultimately, I think a lot of the critical hatred lobbed at this film is aimed at the script for its lofty dialogue and some scenes that could have been cut for lack of dramatic payoff. But I really enjoyed that it felt different and fresh in that way!

      Liked by 1 person

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