The Counsellor 5/10

God, I love Ridley Scott. And just like any affair, there are ups and downs, high highs and days at the office. The Counsellor is a humdrum day at Scott Free productions.

It all looks so good – cast, screenwriter – the whole lot of them. But were they all there at the same time? Ridley, you can make things look great, and have amazing credits to your name where the story, actors and pictures came together. Here, all the pieces were beautiful, but this will not go down as a classic.

Cormac Macarthys script was still in book form. Outside the theatre, does anyone tolerate rambling monologues? Possibly as voice overs. And monologues about sex are a tough sell. So when Javier Bardem started yet another drawn out and uninterrupted description of rich playboy’s adventures, the illusion of cinema fell away. Ridley – why let the engineer fly the plane?

Cameron Diaz was perfectly cast and dressed but failed to deliver her lines. Her embodiment of evil stopped at the body. Monotone and deadpan, she did her range no favours. Ridley – where were you when she needed you?

And then Michael Fassebender. Intense and tortured – but not a lover. Dracula maybe, but not existing in a new plane of consciousness with his beloved. In the drawn out opening scene – I guess to establish the central love affair – I honestly though he was a hit man about to murder poor old Penelope Cruz after he’d had his way. And Penelope – what was it about the role that attracted you? Was it so convenient to shoot a film with your husband that you simply didn’t audit the script?

Ah – its so easy to criticise, and is it just that we end up putting in print that someone could have done better? And I will continue to eagerly await anything by Ridley Scott til the day I die.