The Counsellor: Extended Cut review

There's a fine line between creating a narrative that remains intriguingly opaque and one that simply infuriates by stubbornly refusing to allow you to engage with it on any level. Joel and Ethan Coen judged it to perfection with their 2008 adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Ridley Scott and this 'thriller' based on an original script by the same author.

At its heart The Counsellor is a fairly straightforward crime movie about a man (Michael Fassbender's nameless 'counsellor') who gets involved with a heroin-smuggling scheme, only to watch everything fall apart around him. However, rather than simply tell that story, screenwriter McCarthy and director Scott obfuscate anything that could be considered traditional storytelling. It's almost as if somebody has cut out any scene that focuses on plot or characterisation, leaving us with little more than a series of lengthy monologues about sex, relationships and philosophy.

While the result is certainly not dull (a scene with Cameron Diaz, erm, making love to a car is certainly memorable), it is incredibly frustrating. As usual with Scott it looks fantastic and it's twisty enough to keeping you guessing right up to the bitter end. But it's also impossible not to see the potential for something truly great in The Counsellor, and you'll wonder if that could have been achieved had writer and director not been so afraid of employing traditional storytelling techniques.

Picture: Shot using Red Epic cameras, The Counsellor looks sensational on Blu-ray. From the heavily stylised opening scenes to the film's many wide open exteriors, this AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode appears technically flawless. Colours are rich and vibrant; detailing is exquisite in its intricacy; blacks are unfathomably deep; and contrast levels are impeccable. A cracker.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: While the film has a tendency to favour dialogue over action, this Blu-ray release still serves up some satisfying DTS-HD MA 5.1 thrills. Chapter 21's highway shootout demonstrates excellent positional effects, while a brief car chase in Chapter 24 reveals excellent bass response as well.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: The set's first Blu-ray platter houses the 117-min theatrical cut alongside a trio of viral videos, plus a collection of trailers and TV spots. The second Blu-ray disc is home to the 138-min extended cut, plus a 216-min alternate viewing mode that mixes a commentary from Scott with 13 branching behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: The film may be incredibly frustrating, but that hasn't stopped it getting top-tier treatment on Blu-ray

The Counsellor: Extended Cut, 20th Century Fox, All-region BD, £25 Approx