Grab a few A-list actors, throw in a script by a highly respected writer and round it all off with one of the industry’s top directors and you surely must have a superb film?
What you do end up with in this case is a movie that thinks it’s far smarter than it really is.
Although Prometheus wasn’t Scott’s finest hour, his back catalogue includes my favourite film Blade Runner and a bunch of other great films.
Cormac McCarthy’s novels No Country for Old Men and The Road were turned into fine films.
But The Counsellor really doesn’t work on a variety of levels.
The actors all give it their best shot but this is a movie where no-one is a particularly likeable, so you end up not really caring about what becomes of them.
The main characters are also very two dimensional. There’s little or no information on where they came from, what has brought them to the position we find them in.
We are allowed to observe just a brief moment of their lives - and as such there’s a lot of confusion.
Michael Fassbender, only known as Counsellor (an American lawyer), has a good job, very loving and attractive girlfiriend (Penelope Cruz), flash car and impressive apartment.
And yet he decides to get involved with drug trafficking - despite listening to some harrowing anecdotes from his contacts Reiner (Javier Bardem) and Westray (Brad Pitt).
And would you believe it? It all goes wrong.
In the real world such a fall would encompass family and friends but none of the characters appear to have any.
Even the drugs themselves (hidden in a perol tanker) don’t have a simple role to play and I got confused who was killing who as they made their way from Mexico to Chicago.
Attempting to break the mould of rom-coms in this film is Cameron Diaz who is given a decent meaty role but even this is so extreme she’d put most of the Bond villains in the shade.
Her final monologue was well done but by then I’d given up hope.
Film details: The Counsellor (18) 117mins
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz
Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley