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Rob Carnevale Is in Firm Control of His Craft in “Needlessly Convoluted”

In response to Rob Carnevale’s 284‑word review of The Counselor on The List

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Rob Carnevale’s “The Counselor: Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy’s collaboration is disappointingly distant and needlessly convoluted” shows the value in a well-written review that is concise and still  rich with insight. The title might be longer than the review itself.

Less is definitely more here. Right in the first paragraph, the critic eagerly anticipates the marriage of a top-notch director and top-notch writer only to express his profound discouragement at what the marriage has wrought; his disappointment is as palpable to the reader as it is to Carnevale.

But then he goes on to clearly delineate what bothers him. Skillfully, he makes each of his observations, while both entertaining the reader and showing he knows what he’s talking about. Even better, he does this without giving away any spoilers or wasting time with unnecessary plot description out of respect for the reader who still may go to see the film. This is a critic who has firm control of his craft.

Carnevale’s respect for the artists involved in this film is obvious, but he doesn’t let them off the hook, using comments like “this cold, pessimistic film” and “script is far too distanced for its own good.” Whether the filmgoer agrees with his assessment or not, one is still better for having read this honest appraisal.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation