Ann Hornaday Slaughters a Sacred Cow in “The Counselor”
By Marcus Julianus, Associate Critic
Ann Hornaday takes this sacred cow of a film (thusly named because of it’s writer, Cormac McCarthy, and A-list cast), leads it to the shed, and butchers it with a sharp knife in “‘The Counselor’ movie review: A talky movie that isn’t as tough as it thinks.”
And here, Hornaday’s knife is sharper than ever as she dissects a film propped up with “windy, Shakespearian speeches, wearying conversational dead ends and lots of gratuitous swipes at female sexual appetites.” She isn’t afraid to lambast anyone involved, from McCarthy’s “hackneyed and pathetic” writing to Ridley Scott’s direction making the film’s “weaknesses and excesses stand out in sharp relief.”
Hornaday seems to be enjoying all this (maybe a little too much), taking the filmmakers to task with equal measures of relish and disgust. It all works surprisingly well thanks to her considerable prowess as a writer and a thinker. Like any good critic, Hornaday contemplatively filters everything through the discerning eye of someone with a background in broader arts and literature, and bringing that set of tools to bear, leads to some keen insights into the film’s take on good and evil and human morality.