Ridley Scott’s The Counsellor is a perfect example of how Oscar season can distort a film’s presence. Many, including us, touted Ridley Scott’s latest effort as a world-beater; Cormac McCarthy writing the screenplay, the stellar cast, a couple of brilliant trailers – everything was in place for an Academy performance.

Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender in The Counsellor

Suddenly, though, reviews started flying in, and what looked like a taut thriller, with an intricate plot, turned out to be a cumbersome attempt at style. It’s disappointing, but it serves us right for jumping the gun and judging a film by Fassbender’s face in a short trailer.

“Each scene serves as little more than an index card for the mechanistic plot, which Scott films in a glossy and fluid style befitting an industrial promotion for the movie's high-tech weaponry,” wrote Richard Brody of The New Yorker. “As viscerally promising as the McCarthy-Scott combination initially seemed, the result is nourishing on a purely intellectual level; it works in your head, but you never feel it in your bones,” said Digital Spy’s Emma Dibdin.

Matt Neal of The Standard called it “A film about a bunch of people you don't like doing things you don't understand for reasons you don't care about,” while Time Out’s Guy Lodge described it as “A great writer's pompous idea of pulp fiction, treated with stultifying seriousness by everyone else involved.”

Michael Fassbender The Counselor
Michael Fassbender and Javier Bardem make up an impressive cast

The Counsellor hits cinemas in the U.K this weekend, but considering the following factor: it’s not very good; Don Jon is out, alongside Gravity, Captain Phillips and Philomena, you probably shouldn’t go and see it. Check out Joseph Gordon-Levitt watching porn, Sandra Bullock floating about, Tom Hanks crying or Steve Coogan not being Alan Partridge instead.

If you must, check out The Counsellor trailer: