The Counselor : What was the point?

What was the point?

Was it sexy, no. Was it exciting, no. Did it tell the truth about cartels, and drugs coming to America from Columbia and Mexico, no. Was it saying sex and greed are trouble for some people, I think I knew that. Was it saying the disappeared from Cuidad Juarez is really sad and scary, knew that too. Was it entertaining, no, was it educational, no, was it crazy weird, wild, no. Was it great film making, no.

Did Ridley et al do it for the money, no. For what they thought was a deep, excellent script by a popular writer, yeah. Probably thought the characters were fun and interesting to play also. But for anyone watching, it was really bad. Some movies fail and are forgettable, even with great talent.

Ironic that Diaz's character conned everyone in the film story, and ended up with 20 million, ironic because she conned the film makers out of 20 million, her regular fee. IMDB says the budget was 25 million, no way, unless they all worked on this for free.

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True dat.

But that part where Mr. Jolie gets horribly murdered was good

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Like all good art, there is a point to it but it's all personal to the individual viewer and open to interpretation. It just didn't mean anything to YOU, and that's fine. Not all art is understood by everyone. And I'm not calling you dumb either. You may find other art more personal to you and can relate to it better or it has more of an emotional impression on you.

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Exactly, I don't say it's a bad movie, it actually does have this slow but intense way to show violence, but it somehow didn't really speak to me I might give it another try!

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Re: What was the point?

What's the point of a post like this, in regards to any media? What are any potential responders supposed to do with a string of subjective, unfalsifiable statements ("this film wasn't interesting, entertaining, etc")? Is this supposed to provoke some sort of substantial conversation, or what?

I can list off an equally-sized string of factors about the film I found interesting, well-done, provocative, bla bla bla, and all you'll gain from the exchange is that we disagree. So indeed - what's the point?

That son of a bitch! Don't get me wrong, he's a fine writer.

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As a film it was boring and as art, it wasn't. Yes, that's my opinion, but it doesn't make the view personal to just me, a lot of other people agree it was a below average film, not deep, not groundbreaking, definitely not art. I posted to say what the film makers "thought" was good stuff for a film that excites, educates, informs or inspires, wasn't.

Do any of you actually think this was a good or great film, or a great work of art? You felt good or got something positive from this film, you were moved in any way? Really?

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as art, it wasn't.


What? That's silly to the nth degree. It's a film, of course it's art. We may differ on whether or not it's good art or bad art, but by any definition it is art, and that still stands even if you remove from the equation the fact that the writing is the work of one man who uses the material to express a point of view about the world, provoke reactions in the audience (all typical definitions of what art is).

To assert otherwise is to buy into that ridiculous narrative of the "arthouse" crowd, the one that secretly believes that film is some inferior medium that only occasionally ascends into some magical realm of "artfulness".


it doesn't make the view personal to just me, a lot of other people agree it was a below average film, not deep, not groundbreaking, definitely not art


Sure, and in the very year this film was released most people agreed that Gravity and American Hustle were really something special.


Do any of you actually think this was a good or great film, or a great work of art? You felt good or got something positive from this film, you were moved in any way? Really?


Certainly. While I am obviously in the minority, I am hardly alone on this matter, as evidenced by comments on this very forum. In fact, the reason I appreciate the film is because the themes, atmosphere, pace, feel, etc., resonate with me on a subjectively personal level such that I don't especially care that the story is vague, some of the acting kind of sucks, etc.

That son of a bitch! Don't get me wrong, he's a fine writer.

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You aren't in the minority. When this movie came out,it was what you might call polarizing. Half the critics had it in their 10 best movies of the year, and the other half had it in their ten worst. It's the most divisive movie I can remember reading reviews for.

The most interesting thing to me is that this was the first movie Ridley Scott made after the death of his brother, renowned filmmaker Tony Scott, who killed himself because he had terminal brain cancer. So he teamed up with known nihilist, Cormac McCarthy, and made the bleakest movie I have ever seen. The last third of the movie, *spoilers* after Penelope Cruz is taken by the Cartel, it almost feels like Ridley Scott becomes the Counselor grasping at anything to stop or cope with the unstoppable force (the cartel subs in for brain cancer)that took his loved one. It felt to me like the decision to show Penelope Cruz's headless corpse being dumped in a trash heap was Ridley Scott expressing the rawest emotions about the death of his brother.

Sorry to come late to the conversation, I just rewatched it and wanted to see some reaction, but this movie absolutely is art, and extremely personal. It's not a movie I want to watch all the time, and makes me feel happy that I watched it, but it is a worthy, extremely personal entry on the resume of an all-time great director.

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This was one of the few movies that I wish I had not seen. Not 1 redeeming quality that I can think of and it left me with a sick feeling in my stomach from watching it. I would have just turned it off but there were others here watching also. And, like a train wreckkept watching.
Just a disgusting piece of drivel.

Re: What was the point?

You're confusing your dislike of and inability to comprehend the film for the film itself being objectively poor. Learn more about yourself before lashing out like this and embarrassing yourself.

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I'm not the least embarrassed. And I know myself pretty well after my 60 yrs on this planet. My comprehension is just fine and I comprehend that at some point you're going to fall off that high horse.
Peace out.

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One is never too old to learn ;)

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There is a reason the whole film starts with a shot of that motorcycle going across the desert, before the story even starts. The point was, if you made a decision to dip your toe into a different world, it is naive to think your current world world can stay intact without having any impact. It is only a matter of when.

Nothing to do with drug cartels. It can basically apply to any aspect of life. Also some mufti regarding what has value in one world has no value in another, what rules a wold follow, is not the same in another, who's in control, who's prey and who
's predator, who's scum, depends on which world you are in. For example, Malkina can play her games with the priests and the church had no time for her, while the counselor can be truthful to the cartels, but the cartels have no time for his truth, and does not care, etc, etc. And often times, many who suffer, are the innocent ones you dragged them into.

You don't jump into a vastly different world, and expect to come back out the same, that's naive. You know, stories like Wolf of Wall Street is one, FBI in Whitey Bulger story is one, the mess that is Iraq War is one, marrying a psycho bitch because she's hot in bed, is one, etc.



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Everything in life is like that, it's not an original concept, and not a good film.

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Not really. Of all the examples I cited, those people never see the end that was already set in motion. FBI didn't see the mess, and those that sold Iraq war didn't see the mess. There is the reason the very first opening shot is the biker going across the land. We know his fate was already in waiting. Then, one minor accident ( which was a favor, not a decision based on greed ), snowball to a disaster.

The film rook effort to remove all elements of greed in the counselor's decision, and made sure the spark that spun things out of control was as irrelevant as possible. It also made effort to remove all fluid narrative to stay focus on motif. In that, it's extremely innovative filmmaking.

It is just not a good "crime-drama-narrative" but it never was to begin with. That's the same as saying a minimalist architecture is not a good house because it lacks privacy, separation of spaces, etc, etc, basically, saying it lacks stuff that was removed by design, stuff removed to amplify what's more important.




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FlickFlix, I like what you have to say about this film. I personally think it's a very good and underrated film. I was disappointed when I saw it in theaters because I had read the screenplay before hand. So I knew there was scenes cut and trimmed that really hurt the film as a whole. There is a lot going on in this film even though most of its just pretty looking people talking.

I love the contrast between Laura and Malkina. The movie shows the counselor commenting how Laura's vagina is beautiful and amazing. While Reiner tells the car *beep* scene and describes her as a puffer fish. It scared him.

I also wanted to ask you what were your thoughts on the diamond dealer's monologue or just the entire scene.

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Re: What was the point?

The diamond dealer's monologue was a last warning to the counselor, of the *beep* that was about to happen. Of course the diamond dealer is not a fortune teller and is not aware what the counselor got himself involved in. But this isn't a narrative film.

The very opening shot was the biker racing across the desert about to get the speeding ticket that'll seal the counselor's fate. While the counselor and his lover where sharing innocent bliss within walls. That monologue was warning that bliss is fragile. That carelessness can end that bliss. And that's the counselor's last chance to walk out of dipping his feet into the cartel world. Because random events that can ruin his bliss, is already set in motion.

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"the film took effort to remove all elements of greed in the counselor's decision"

What are you talking about? Why do you think he got involved in the drug deal in the first place?

He was a lawyer who could earn a good living without getting involved with drugs. Either he got greedy before (gambling?), which led to his need to participate in the deal, or he got greedy later when he decided to do the deal.

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Why do you think he got involved in the drug deal in the first place?
We do not know. And it's deliberate effort from the filmmakers. All we know is he's cornered. Reiner asked the counselor why he took his offer. The counselor simply replied, "Greed." Reiner then call on the counselor's b.s. and made a comment that the counselor refused Reiner in all previous efforts where Reiner lured him with greed. Counselor never answered, except he had to. We don't know. And we do not know because that's a distraction of the point of the film.


He was a lawyer who could earn a good living without getting involved with drugs.
No, he's a criminal lawyer who help defend criminals being involved with drugs. And there's a scene where an ex-con threatened him, which means, the counselor isn't afraid to screw up some d-bag criminals. Or, that he get blamed for clients he help defend because he refuse to cross ethical lines.

There is a reason that the opening scene is the biker going across the desert outside the hotel window where the two lovebirds were in bliss. Which means, their fate is already set in motion. A freakin' speeding ticket that he helped a criminal mom bail out her son, screwed his life over. A very random, innocent favor. Because the point is, when he made the decision to take the deal, he is crossing to a different world where rules apply differently, if not the speeding ticket, some random shiet will happen eventually and he's done for. The last scene of the missing kids is a reminder, that if he had made it out fine, got married, stated a family, some random act can still have his kids gone missing and murdered.

Basically, his bliss is over the very second he decided to take the deal. It's only a matter of when, even he never becomes a villain. And it does not matter why he took the deal. He could have taken the deal to save world hunger and he'd still be screwed over. Because whatever moral value and emotional value he has in his previous world, has no value in the other.

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I like the idea that all it took was a simple gesture of bailing out the green hornet(biker) to kick the downfall into motion. Yes the counselor's fate is sealed once that biker crossed the border and if it wasn't the counselor bailing him out that starts the carnage, it would eventually be something rlse

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I'm continually amazed at the ignorance surrounding the issue of Iraq.

Anyone who seriously studies the issue has to recognize that the removal of Saddam Hussein was morally and strategically necessary, for Iraq, for the region, and for our own national security.

Saddam's presence was the primary reason Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11, as it required the placement of defensive, non-muslim troops in (holy) Saudi Arabia. (Read their declaration of war against us if you don't believe me.) Those troops could not be safely removed until Saddam was gone.

Moreover, the democratization of the Middle East is the only long-term solution to the problem of Islamic extremism and terrorism. Without that, there is no other real alternative for the oppressed population there.

Obviously reconstructing an (artificial) country with major sectarian divisions was never going to be easy. People should've realized this going in. But there's no question that the war to liberate Iraq was actually won very quickly, and the longer struggle to pacify it was largely accomplished by 2008-2009. Which in turn sparked other necessary reform movements in Iran, Egypt, and elsewhere throughout the region.

Has our current idiot-in-chief messed things up (hopefully temporarily) with his extreme pacifism, passivity, and misguided view of international involvement? Yes. But that doesn't change the fact that the people of Iraq still understand Saddam's removal as a necessary step for any progress. (Check out any and all surveys regarding this.) Or that Iraq is no longer a threat to the region. No longer seeking WMD's. With Islamic extremists generally more inwardly-focused on their own countries/regions than the U.S. today. Etc.

Those who think it was somehow morally wrong to remove a barbaric, minority dictator from power know nothing about Iraq or the demographics there (with Saddam supported only by a portion of the 19% Sunni population), and apparently care nothing about popular sovereignty or human rights.

Those who think it was somehow strategically wrong to remove him from power, and reconstruct a more representative, democratic, pro-Western government in his place know nothing about history, the motivations behind 9/11, or the underlying causes of terrorism.

Those who think we can continue to advance global prosperity, improve governments, increase human rights, and thereby improve global security without extended sacrifice and struggle are in fact naive and ignorant. (Even if the sacrifices required by current security threats are far less than those required in the 40's, or even the 50's and 60's.)

But the costs of ignoring obvious evil in the form of Hitler, Saddam or ISIS will always be greater than the costs of confronting and defeating it. There is no real ambiguity or situational ethics present. It is simply a matter of doing the right thing, or not doing it.

The real parallel for the counselor in the film are not those who recognized the need to remove Saddam from power as a necessary precondition for regional reform and (Iraqi) national recovery. It is those who who preferred to leave him in power indefinitely so they could continue to profit from his oil. And those who attempted to abandon the nascent democracy there to satisfy short-term political expediency and domestic greed.

Re: What was the point?

It doesn't matter why U.S. got involved occupying Iraq, or if it was justified. And I'll still debate you on that, but that was not my point. You don't go in expecting people there will react like people in U.S. do, feeling liberated and thankful that a dictator was removed, and looking up to U.S. troops as soldiers who freed them. That is naive.

Point was, U.S. entered expecting one thing, but once involved, it becomes something else altogether that is mess to deal with. Whether that mess is worth it is besides the point. And I'll still debate you on that.

Okay, so let's go off-tagent.

Al-Qaeda hated Saddam's guts. In Al-Qaeda's eyes, it's dictator like Saddam catering to U.S.'s demand at the expense muslim people, that gave U.S. power. Of course, that's nonsense, but that's not the point.


The real parallel for the counselor in the film are not those who recognized the need to remove Saddam from power as a necessary precondition for regional reform and (Iraqi) national recovery.
Did I say that? What I said was, entering a conflict with very naive expectation and then getting hit by a train. And the point was, this film's philosophy is beyond just drug cartels. It applies everywhere across the board.

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I am continually amazed by the ideological blindness surrounding the issue of Iraq.

The removal of Saddam was "morally necessary," huh? Is that how you guys are ineffectually "justifying" the mess we're in?

So, we couldn't "safely remove" the troops in Saudi because of Saddam? He was a broken reed, internationally, after his defeat in the Gulf War. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had nothing to fear from him. However, since you can't claim that Saddam had anything to do with the 2001 attacks, you've got to find some other reason to blame him. Our presence there couldn't be simply due to the US's overweening pride and its desire to have bases in the region, could it?

The plain arrogance of declaring that we were going into the Middle East to "reconstruct a more representative, democratic, pro-Western government," as if we have the right to remake the world in our image, is appalling. What we created thru our selfish, short-sighted meddling, is chaos, pure and simple. ISIS was founded in the 1990s, but it got nowhere til we destabilized the entire region and gave it the freedom to pursue its goals. Now, vast portions of the population are being slaughtered or driven from their homes to escape the fury we unleashed in our hubris. Of course, what country is least willing to take in the refugees from the destruction we caused? The country which bears the major responsibility for the ruin of their lives, the US.

China's government is horribly repressive, but we do deals with them and have no intention to fulfill some so-called "moral" obligation to "reconstruct a more representative, democratic, pro-Western government" there. North Korea makes China look like a model society, but we aren't self-righteously champing at the bit to overthrow their government. Why? Because we're afraid of them, afraid that they might beat us. Instead, our glorious leaders decided, like any bully, to pick on a small country we'd already beaten once, so we could pound our chests with pride over American superiority, and morons could write posts about how we were merely performing our moral duty.

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If you really believe that, then I feel very sorry for you.

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Good to hear a more nuanced take on Iraq. I too agree that the intentions were not nearly as malicious as the left insist, although the utter stupidity of failing to plan for the aftermath was its own kind of evil. Boneheaded ignorance that came with a price that is still being paid in innocent blood.

When you say 'those who could profit from his oil', who are you referring to? Who in the West gained from Saddam controlling the oil?

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she conned the film makers out of 20 million, her regular fee.
I think the days of Cameron Diaz commanding $20 million per film are well and truly over, if they ever were actually there.

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was your post made in november, no. Was it completely pointless and a waste of time reading, yes. You dragged on more than this movie.

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Re: The point was, Ridley Scott should avoid McCarthy novels.

The fact that the movie didn't progress in a typical way to that of a standard thriller, is what made it great. It allowed us to actually think about what is going on, and made us use our imagination. It's all clear what is going on, as long as you just pay attention. Sounds like you were just after a Bruce Willis kinda movie involving kicking the cartel's ass.

The point of that scene was to show where the shipment ended up, and with the body in a barrel to show the kinds of things the cartel do on a daily basis. They like to have fun with serious things like death, because they don't see it as serious. It's just a joke to them.

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Was it sexy, no

Did it need to be? What kind of childish criticism is that?

Was it exciting, no

Not enough car chases, explosions, and shootouts for you?

Did it tell the truth about cartels, and drugs coming to America from Columbia and Mexico, no.

Do explain how the film didn't tell the truth and what this truth actually is. This should be good

Was it saying sex and greed are trouble for some people, I think I knew that. Was it saying the disappeared from Cuidad Juarez is really sad and scary, knew that too.

So you only watch films that focus on themes you don't know or haven't seen before? You must not watch a lot of movies, which would explain your ridiculous post.

But for anyone watching, it was really bad.

No, it wasn't.

"This life's hard, man, but it's harder if you're stupid!"

Re: What was the point?

The point of the movie can be summarised by what Brad Pitt's character said about snuff films saying that by watching one you are an accomplice to that murder (because if there was no market for it there would be none made).

And there's a scene in the end where Fassbender's character sees all the affected families protesting against the murders of loved ones commited by the cartel, a organisation Fassbender helped finance and therefor was partially responsible for not only his fiancees murder but all of their victims (to a degree). But he didn't realise that until that point because he was used to his lush lifestyle in a fancy villa.

So basically the point of the movie is that everything you do has an effect on the people around you, so you need to be careful.

Death to mainstream cinema!

Re: What was the point?

Well, I see some people say that the film did not have any structure and at first I taught the same and was a bit confused and disappointed. But I think that this was intentional and a very good move from the filmmakers.

You see, a lot of criminal movies show us the criminal world and explain in detail who is connected to who, who is the main boss, who is the assassin, who is the small drug dealer everyone has a label and you see the big picture, BUT live is not like that. If you get involved in this world then you only see what a small part of the people involved tell you (most of this are stories like the Javier Bardem's character is telling) and you don't know who is connected to who and there is no clear structure.

This is the whole point of the movie - the counsellor comes from a world that has some clear rules, he expects that he can reason with the cartel and explain himself, that he got involved just a bit in the crimes and is not part of the violence, just provides legal advice and is involved in a higher level (financial), BUT again what he misses is that this is another world. And Brad Pitt's character tried to warn him a few times. He says that he can not imagine what the cartel is capable of. It is a different world. In this world there is no structure and even the big players can lose without warning. In this world you can pay with your life very quickly and as we saw you can pay with something even more valuable - not your life, but the life of innocent people like the counsellor's wife. You end up with that grief and this is the result of the world that you created, there is no turning back, you made the choice a long time ago and you went down that road. Once you crossed the line you are in a different world with different rules and sometimes even no rules at all. Like the "passenger" in the truck - he is just there, because THEY think it is funny.

And people will continue to ask "but why this", "why that" and they still miss the point that like the guy on the phone call said - he has a few more phone calls to make and then probably take a nap. So for him all these stories and peoples lives and fate is just a phone conversation, business as usual. He has one call after another. The counsellor thinks he is special and asks if they can meet and discuss - and the guy says - we are doing this now. In this game you are not special, you are a small piece of the game and you can be removed easily. For the counsellor this is all - his live, the live of his wife, everything, for the cartel it is a 5 minute conversation on the phone, that even was not needed. They have hundreds of these calls every month probably. I hope now you get the picture.
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