Ridley Scott Defends His Most Critically Panned Thriller 10 Years Later



  • Ridley Scott defends The Counselor against negative reviews after a decade, calling it a “fun and cynical” movie.
  • Scott believes that people are only starting to appreciate the film now, similar to his other movies that became classics over time.
  • Despite its critical reception, The Counselor was a modest box office success.



A decade after its release, Ridley Scott is defending The Counselor against its negative reviews. Featuring an ensemble cast of Penélope Cruz, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Michael Fassbender, who played the titular protagonist, the crime thriller was written by Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy and directed by Scott and followed a high-level lawyer who makes the drastic decision to enter the underworld of high-end drug trafficking. Historically, a lot of Scott’s work has been met with high praise and notable awards, however, The Counselor is arguably the award-winning filmmaker’s most divisive work to date for varying reasons.

Speaking to Rolling Stone in a recent interview, Scott vehemently defends The Counselor, feeling it is “fun and cynical,” and it remains one of his favorite movies to date. The 85-year-old filmmaker explained that he was very disappointed in the general reception The Counselor got upon its release, adding that people are only starting to get it now, much like his other movies which weren’t well received at first, but went on to become classics. Read his full comment below:

Probably not. I passed it by Cameron first and said, “So… what do you think?” And she said, “So what?” And I said, “OK!” And I said, “I’m not gonna describe it, just read it.” Cormac McCarthy, in my world, is probably the best dialogue writer ever. The Counselor is one of my favorites of my movies, but it’s a very dark subtext, and you can feel it coming from minute one. It’s so dark because it’s based on a certain amount of truth. I was so disappointed, and I don’t know who to blame because I think the film is really f—-n’ good. It’s so fun and cynical. People take it so seriously! People are getting it now. It’s always annoying because my films tend to get got later. The famous one is Blade Runner, which was dead for twenty years and then got discovered again by accident at the Santa Monica Film Festival.

Why Were Critics So Harsh On The Counselor?

The Counselor and Reiner talk in The Counselor

Currently sitting with an approval rating of 34% from critics on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes, The Counselor remains one of Scott’s lowest-reviewed movies to date. While his worst-reviewed project remains the Russell Crowe-led romantic comedy A Good Year, sitting at a 26% from critics, it only narrowly surpasses Exodus: Gods and Kings and 1492: Conquest of Paradise for avoiding being his second-worst. With audiences, on the other hand, the 2013 crime thriller sits at a career-worst of 24%.

Despite being penned by McCarthy, the author behind similar genre works No Country for Old Men and Child of God, The Counselor was largely met with negative reviews for its underwhelming story and screenplay. Focusing more on dialogue than actual thrills, with the latter still failing to drum up entertainment among critics, the movie was largely dismissed as “too wordy“. Though the ensemble cast saw some positive reception, namely a fairly against-type Cameron Diaz, even they couldn’t help the rest of the movie.

Despite its critical failings, The Counselor was a modest box office success, grossing over $71 million against its $25 million production budget.

At the time of its release, The Counselor was also seen as a continuation of Scott’s downward trend on the big screen. Though the Alien prequel Prometheus garnered modest reviews and a solid box office haul the year before, his adaptation of Robin Hood was largely considered a critical and commercial misfire, with his follow-up to the 2013 thriller, Exodus: Gods and Kings similarly being deemed a failure. Even if critics weren’t as favorable of the movie, Scott’s defense of The Counselor shows his passion remains just as fervent for the rest of his filmography.

Source: Rolling Stone

  • the counselor

    The Counselor

    Release Date:

    Ridley Scott

    Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz



    Thriller, Drama

    Ridley Scott

    $25 million

    20th Century

    20th Century