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Jocelyn Noveck’s “The Counselor” Offers Weak Critique

In response to Jocelyn Noveck’s 650‑word review of The Counselor on Associated Press

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Jocelyn Noveck asks a lot of questions in “Film Review: Starry cast, McCarthy script, even funny Bardem haircut can’t enliven ‘Counselor’”, but she offers few answers. This is partly because her ploy is to drive home the fact that she finds this a confusing movie. Point taken, but, as a film critic, it’s incumbent upon you to answer (or, in the least, attempt to answer) some of these questions.

There’s so much head scratching going on here that the review is left with a glaring bald spot: there’s no criticism. She’s forever playing the fool, “trying to figure out exactly what he meant” or “who IS this guy? Where did he come from? Did I miss something?” When she brings up the cheetah motif built around Cameron Diaz’s character, Noveck is mystified: “What do they signify? Still pondering that.”

The problem with all this puzzlement is that readers could come up with these questions on their own; they come to film critics for enlightenment and there’s none of that here, just more doubt.

Noveck could easily have rescued this review with clever writing, but her prose is pretty prosaic and does little to inspire, making this one an unqualified dud.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation