Some studio execs must have thought theyd died and gone to Hollywood heaven.
Heavy-hitter cast. Check.
Famous director. Check.
Big-name writer. Check.
Box-office ka-ching. Not so fast.
The minds behind the would-be thriller The Counselor including writer Cormac McCarthy and director Ridley Scott forgot one thing: a script that anyone would care about or, heck, even one that makes much sense. Rarely has so much effort and star power been expended with so little result.
The ubiquitous Michael Fassbender is an El Paso lawyer who is always simply addressed as Counselor. This Man With No Name seems to lead a charmed life with a sexy fiancee, Laura (an underutilized Penelope Cruz), sharp clothes, cool car, and presumably a bedroom full of high-thread-count sheets under which he and Laura make gloriously passionate love, which is how the movie opens.
For some reason financial concerns are vaguely referred to Counselor decides to get involved in the illicit cross-border drug trade through his club-owner friend Reiner (an oddly coiffed Javier Bardem) and one of Reiners contacts, Westray (Brad Pitt).
Of course, this decision backfires after the murder of a courier for which the cartels blame Counselor.
Theres little suspense or any sense of tension, even though Fassbinder gives it his all as a man pushed to breakdown.
The Counselor is ultimate proof that just because an important writer (No Country for Old Men, The Road) and a vaunted director (Alien, Black Hawk Down, Thelma & Louise) collaborate, it doesnt mean the results will be remotely watchable.
Those sounds you hear are the sighs of relief from Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. Runner Runner is no longer 2013s worst thriller.