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Joe Williams’s “Film Review: The Counselor” Is Dazzling, but Empty

In response to Joe Williams’s 396‑word review of The Counselor on St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Joe Williams’s latest offering,”Film Review: The Counselor” crackles with dry, witty prose and clever film review allusions, but leaves the reader cold in the end. It is little more than an empty exercise in flashy reviewmaking.

There is much to admire to admire in Williams’s phrasing. His elegant use of metaphor and his grasp of the genre’s language make Review:  The Counselor a pleasant read. But these are empty calories. And dazzling prose can only go so far to mask a missing heart.

Williams does a capable, and at times, elegant job of summarizing the rich and complex tale at the heart of his work. But what is missing is a personal touch, a deeper probe into the way he feels about characters, their lives, their passions. Cleverly couched plot summaries and character backstory can only take the audience so far.

Most disappointing is Review:  The Counselor‘s closing scene. Readers are left guessing as to the reviewmaker’s feelings. Apart from a pithy three and half stars out of four rating, Williams does little to persuade us to embrace the world he’s created. He gives a dazzling, but ultimately empty rendering of a tale audiences have all heard before.    

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