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Counsellor, The


Stars: Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Brad Pitt, Ruben Bladès, Bruno Ganz, Rosie Perez, Toby Kebbell, Goran Visnjic

Director: Ridley Scott

There's not much going on here, either in the way of action or plot. Dialogue there is, though, and lots of it, often delivered in lengthy monologues by the actors. And, from Diaz's early line - 'I think truth has no temperature' - we know it's not going to be that hot.

Otherwise, apart from the violence, language and (gratuitous) opening sex scene, this beautifully-dressed retro drama could almost be a film from the 1960s.

And, despite this cast and director, not a very good one.

It'll take you a while to even get the basis of what's going on; there's no fluidity in the incoherent narrative, which jumps between one storythread and another, as Fassbender's lawyer - the script never gives him a name (everyone calls him Counsellor) - heavily in debt (the socking great diamond he's just bought fiancée Cruz can't have improved things), throws in his lot with a golliwog-haired Bardem and stetsoned Pitt, both of whom are involved in some kind of drug-running from Colombia through Mexico to the United States (or maybe I have got this round my neck).

Bardem is in love with Diaz, who is in love with her two cheetahs, while Pitt just seems to be love with money. By a bizarre coincidence, however, all concerned land heavily in the brown stuff when Fassbender does old con Perez a favour by releasing her son from custody on a mega speeding charge. Unfortunately, he's a courier for the Cartel, and, when he's waylaid, it all looks like a set-up to hijack millions in drugs.

Everyone concerned is seemingly doomed by this, but it takes an unconscionably long time, and much speechifying, for the director to get around to their various fates.

Performances are convincing enough on the surface, although, apart from his emotional closing scene, Fassbender's a pretty anonymous leading man.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox (Fox 2000). Colour by deluxe.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 09 Nov 2013