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Bilge Ebiri Delivers a Raw, Fearless Review in “The Counselor”

In response to Bilge Ebiri’s 807‑word review of The Counselor on Vulture

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When Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes were shot out of that canon, some of the dust may have settled on Bilge Ebiri, imbuing him with a little dose of the gonzo. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but Ebiri’s rawness does harken back to Thompson’s unfiltered ethos and there’s something refreshing about seeing the harsher swear words of the language being used in film criticism. After all, this ain’t Shakespeare.

Now, if all he could boast was a potty mouth, there’d be nothing to praise here, but, thankfully, Bilge is less Kayne and more Keats (on acid).  

The reader gets to see Ebiri wrestle with his thoughts about a complicated film that he finds both a “catastrophe and strangely compelling”, “deeply convoluted, and at times howlingly insane.” He’s conflicted and he’s not afraid to let you in on it, but, in the end, he does his job and gives a clear concise verdict: “It’s ridiculous, but it has a ragged nobility all its own.”

Ebiri’s insights are astute. He is seeing angles here that other critics have missed altogether and he even gets self reflective for a moment, worrying whether he, as a critic and fan, has helped push for films like this. It’s arresting stuff and deserves to be experienced.    

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