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Lawrence Toppman Asks “What If?” in “Cold Characters, Hot Air”

In response to Lawrence Toppman’s 486‑word review of The Counselor on Charlotte Observer

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Lawrence Toppman’s latest, “The Counselor: Cold characters, hot air,” provides very little original thought and whines about how Ridley Scott’s deceased brother would have made the film better. One may have the opinion that Ridley Scott’s direction would have been improved if his brother has not died, and will likely be offended by Toppman’s failure to thoroughly critique the film that was made. What if Toppman had tried harder? What if?

Cold characters, hot air opens up with a commentary on Tony Scott, and closes out with more thoughts on Tony Scott, so technically one could argue that Toppman sticks to his argument. However, there is little critique of the actual film to be found.

The critic describes Michael Fassbender’s character in Cold characters, hot air as “so generic that we never know his name,” which is clearly a reason to not provide analysis on what Fassbender means to the film. The exploration of the other characters is so vague and uninspired that one will wonder how a critic could just glide over information so easily. Anyone can describe the physical appearance of a character.

Cold characters, hot air is one of those reviews that surprises with a late appearance of analysis that seems to be like a bonus, when in reality it’s really only a brief expansion on an overall poor effort. Toppman appears to feel he is on to something with the Tony Scott angle, and the argument would have been relevant if the critic was able to offer a complete look at Ridley’s work.

Cold characters, hot air shows little respect for the audience, and is hardly a complete look at the film.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation