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Forrest Wickman’s “Counselor” Shines With Deep Insight and Fine Prose

In response to Forrest Wickman’s 763‑word review of The Counselor on Slate

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Forrest Wickman doles out one of the pithiest one liners anyone has used to review this new Ridley Scott offering: “If heavy-handedness—or headlessness—isn’t your cup of tea, I’ve got a bit of advice for you: Stay away from this movie, counselor.”

Wickman’s “The Counselor” is the work of an auteur at the top of his game and witnessing it is a breathtaking experience. His capacious intellect pops in every word choice, every profound observation, and every spot-on quip, leaving readers with no choice but to stand in awe of its gloriousness.

Like a world class athlete who can slow the world down at their command, Wickman is seeing things on another level, perceiving things where others have failed and making perfect sense of an otherwise confusing film. At one point he brilliantly muses, “Eventually, the actors cease to sound like distinct characters. They all just sound like Cormac McCarthy.”

Wickman also gives readers luminous insight into why McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men worked when this one didn’t: No Country “seemed to sympathize with the townsfolk, no matter how naïve, [Ridley] Scott’s camera seems to admire the pure, unclouded hostility of nature’s hunters.”

It’s clever without being cloying, intense without being bloated, and philosophically deep without being pompous. This is about as good as it gets and you owe it to yourself to see this master at work.    

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