The Counselor Blu-ray Review

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The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) has everything he wanted lining up perfectly; money, a beautiful wife Laura (Penelope Cruz), and what seemed like a perfect life. Thinking that everything would be so smooth, he joins Reiner (Javier Bardem) to launder money for a drug cartel. The task was simple, deliver the drugs and make a lot of money in the process. Nothing could go wrong. However, Malkina (Cameron Diaz) is pulling the strings from behind their backs, seemingly putting both men and their accomplice Westray (Brad Pitt) in a very dangerous position. Their actions have deadly consequences to those implicated as well as the innocent.

Rarely do I sit and watch a movie and end up wondering what the point of it was. The Counselor began to emit this feeling back from when I first saw the trailer, a minute and a half of non-sensical and strange footage where the most striking aspect was the images of the cheetahs. Fast forward and now I have the Blu-ray in hand and after watching it a couple of times, all I can think of is how utterly disappointing it was. At a glance, the cast was impressive with the likes of Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. Even with the acting chops and the portfolios of all the actors combined it would be difficult to save the The Counselor.

From the beginning to end, the pompous ideas and writing of Cormac McCarthy were so complex and detached from reality that it was very hard to follow. Mind you, I like McCarthy’s work in other films like No Country for Old Men (which by the way it was used to pitch The Counselor), but the similarities are far from being close. The dialogue was fast and complex that any break for air put me at a risk of losing what was going on in the story. Which leads me to my next point, more often than none the story gave us imagery that was either redundant or just simply unnecessary. All of these things, paired with the idea of glamour that both McCarthy and Scott believe to be found in the drug trafficking scene in Mexico, it all just seemed not genuine. Granted, when the film begins there’s a simple idea that bad things will happen if people get involved with a cartel. The film goes on with this idea, but there is just no real sense of the plot evolving. I understand the morality idea behind The Counselor, but the story itself just felt so surreal. The character development was far from optimal that it was hard to feel any real attachment to any particular individual.

I respect Ridley Scott and his work, but with The Counselor I felt there was a wide gap between the film and their target audience. The Counselor just simply didn’t work. Perhaps, it’s just my interpretation of the work and I’ll be glad to discuss this with anyone who wishes to shed new light on this movie. In the meantime, my stance remains the same.

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The Counselor arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode. From the beginning The Counselor looks fantastic with a pristine and very detailed image. The very first shot of Malkina and Reiner in the desert is incredibly revealing with the image featuring a yellowish tint, which a few scenes feature throughout the film especially on desert shots. The rest features a very natural look. The skin tones are very natural, but in a few scenes they look a bit warm. Even the dark scenes look deep and inky without overwhelming the details in the scene. No video anomalies were found on the video. Overall, The Counselor looks very good on Blu-ray.

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The Counselor arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. The counselor is primarily dialogue driven, but there are a few scenes that should make your system work a bit, the dialogue is always prioritized and it is clear. The rears offer some ambience effects. The Soundtrack flows through the speakers without issues. The LFE is used a few times here and there, especially when cars speed through or the gun shots rip through the soundstage. Either way, it is always ready and very accurate. No issues to note were found. The Counselor sounds good on Blu-ray.

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Viral Pieces -There are 3 segments for the main characters of the film: Laura (3 minutes), The Counselor (3 minutes), and Malkina and Reiner (2 minutes).

Truth of the Situation – this is an interactive behind-the-scenes that play during the movie along with a feature length audio commentary. There are a total of 13 video featurettes. This feature is excellent regardless of the movie simply because of the audio commentary. The commentary itself is incredibly revealing and offers another insight into the mind of Ridley Scott. A lot is shared of the movie itself along with his choices and shooting style for The Counselor. It is definitely worth your time if you desire to get more out of the film.

Trailers

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Ridley Scott is a fantastic filmmaker, there’s really no doubt about it, but The Counselor was a direct miss. I get what McCarthy is trying to achieve with his complex, long winded, moral, sexual and daring script, but the execution just felt off. There’s no doubt that the audio commentary found in the disc helps patch things up and even give you a fresh perspective in a couple scenes of the film, but it’s just not enough to save The Counselor in my eyes. It’s not an easy film to love and perhaps a more real representation of the film during its marketing timeframe could have helped it, who knows. The Blu-ray looks fantastic right from the beginning in what is sure to be one of the best looking discs so far in 2014. The supplements are pretty crucial to get a better grasp of this film, so thankfully Truth of the Situation is there to save the day (sort of). The Counselor is a movie whose critics and defenders are split down the middle, so I would recommend a rental before buying.