The Counselor. Sounds kind of tough, does it not? Like a lawyer armed to the teeth. Moreover, the movie takes place in the drug scene, which usually goes together with some sort of killings. These expectations maybe would have been fulfilled, if Tony Scott had directed this movie. But unfortunately he is no longer with us, and it is doubtful whether he really would have been the right director when we consider the book on which the film is based by Cormack McCarthy, who also wrote No Country for Old Men. This one is not about action-packed conflicts between different interest groups. Ridley Scott (Prometheus) made it into a parable about the mercilessness of Mexican drug cartels. This is often addressed in philosophical and complex dialogues, which received mixed reviews by both audiences and professional reviewers. Presented in brilliant pictures and starring numerous famous actors the primary point of criticism is that the movie often goes astray and loses itself in its main message, and also seems quite incoherent at times.
But Ridley Scott always likes to produce longer versions of his movies and apparently he already knew before the theatrical release that this one would be a good deal longer on Blu-ray. The Unrated Extended Cut is 20 minutes longer, which means that the movie now runs longer than two hours. Reviewers hoped that these extensions would improve the movie, but after watching the extended version the previous tendency more or less remains. One clear difference: more or extended dialogues. And not all of the new footage seems to be that essential for the plot or the movie overall, for example like the additional scene of the biker or the phone conversation between Laura and Malkina. Every now and then they have inserted some useful extensions, which help understanding the plot, but the viewer still has to be willing to get involved with the story and the sometimes kind of pretentious presentation of it all. Moreover, there are some differences at the beginning and at the end which maybe had to be made in order to avoid complications with the MPAA. Already R-rated (for graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language) the sex scene of Laura and the Counselor as well as the death scene of Westray contain some more explicit extensions that seemingly could have been a thorn in the side of the MPAA examiners.
This is a comparison between the Theatrical Version (R-Rated) and the Unrated Extended Cut (both contained on the US Blu-ray by 20th Century Fox)
18 extended scenes
5 additional scenes
2 scenes with alternate footage
1 extended scene with alternate footage
1 extended scene in the theatrical version
The Unrated Extended Cut runs 1195.32 seconds (ca. 19 minutes 56 seconds) longer than the Theatrical Version.
0:03:08: When the Counselor tells Laura to express her wish a bit sexier, she grins and then whispers into his ear.
0:03:27: Laura is shown about one second earlier enjoying the touch and then saying "Yeah".
0:04:49: Longer scene of Laura and the Counselor in bed. He praises her pubic region and goes down on her again, which she answers with some moans. He then wants more instructions from her and she "commands" him to use his fingers. He does so, apparently to her liking.
0:06:37: When Laura reaches her climax the camera stays on her face in the Unrated, while the Theatrical version shows the Counselor in between (and then Laura again).
Unrated 0.36 sec. longer
0:09:55: The truck with the drugs is shown passing the US border without any problems.
Extended Scene in the Theatrical Version
Theatrical Version: 0:11:58: The diamond merchant says in the Theatrical version that it is a cynical business, because they are looking for imperfection. This voice-over is not contained in the Unrated. There is also an additional shot of the diamond.
Theatrical Version 5.04 sec. longer
0:15:07: At this point the diamond merchant is shown saying that his business is a cynical one, because of the search for imperfection. He hands another diamond to the Counselor and asks him to tell him what is imperfect about it. He then correctly describes a few things and also comes to the conclusion that an immaculate diamond does not exist. After that they talk about the life of the merchant. He is from Spain and says that his country had had some disadvantages due to the forced migration of the Jews. The Counselor wants to know more about this, but the merchant hedges and rather tells something about very rare, expensive diamonds. But the Counselor insists on him telling the thing about Spain. So the merchant goes on by saying that his country does not have any culture. Before, it was the Greeks, but now they have nothing after the end of the Semitic culture. He proceeds in a philosophical way and says that in the West faithful peoples are responsible for culture. When he talks about diamonds again in the Unrated he is shown going to a cabinet and taking out some diamonds, before he walks back to where the Counselor is sitting. In the Theatrical version the merchant stands up and immediately walks over to his customer.
0:22:23: Reiner says that one of his exes often did not wear a bra and had exquisite nipples.
0:22:44: Reiner explains that she had left him for another woman. Despite her being a lesbian, she apparently took a liking to the male genital and pleasured Reiner quite good. He also met the football player friend of the other woman once, but that guy did not take this separation too well. Also women seem to cope better with such stuff.
0:27:35: The Counselor asks where this beheading-stuff comes from and Reiner says that it stems from the East. Then he asks this: If you were to put 9 Mexicans and one Arab in one room, who would come out alive? But he says that he would not do business with the Arabs, because they do not need money.
0:28:31: The young biker is at an improvised market and buys a package of dog food. A woman asks him if he has a dog. He decides to fool her and says that it is for himself. A good diet that already helped him lose some weight. He says that he does not want to eat anything else anymore and would recommend it to anyone. He had to go the hospital, but it is nevertheless outstanding diet food. She doubts this, because he had to go to the hospital, but he says that the dog food was not the reason for his stay there. He tells her that he was hit by a car while sitting on the sidewalk licking his pubic region, just like dogs do. The woman walks away with a puzzled look on her face and he wishes her a nice day. What a good guy...
The Theatrical version then also shows him driving back to his hangar and feeding his dog, but only in minute 34.
0:40:34: Westray goes on and says that the Counselor would be surprised at all the people who are engaged in the drug business. Especially for the money transfer you need people on the inside and you also need a company to cover this up. All this stuff is not easy to pull off and cash is an even bigger issue. It would be more than inconvenient if just one person were to get busted.
0:43:16: And to further illustrate how evil the cartel bosses really are Westray asks what they probably would do if they had enough money to fulfill all of their materialistic wishes while already being morally corrupted? What has probably happened to all this girls, hundreds, thousands of young girls? Probably snuff movies. After that, the Counselor is shown in different shots in the two versions as he is saying that he will also remember that.
0:53:42: New story by Reiner. He and two of his friends are playing a prank on the cousin of a Brazilian acquaintance called Peterson. The cousin of Peterson does not speak English too well, but he wants to talk to women nevertheless. So they teach him the phrase "I want to eat your pussy." He then immediately tries this on a very attractive woman on the dance floor. Reiner and his guys are having a ball, but the woman sees through this and goes outside with the cousin, where she really gets busy with him. The cousin returns after an hour and Reiner and his guys are quite astonished. Peterson is especially surprised with his cousin's success and then tries to do the same with another woman on the dance floor. But unfortunately for Peterson she is accompanied by a huge guy who then breaks his jaw and knocks him out. Peterson is brought to the hospital while the others go home.
Extended Scene with Alternate Footage
1:02:46: The phone conversation between the Counselor and Laura is only shown from the Counselor's perspective in the Theatrical version. The Unrated contains a few cuts to Laura too.
1:05:47: When Reiner repeats that he wants to forget what Malkina has done to his car, he adds in the Unrated: "I think."
Unrated 2.84 sec. longer
1:06:51: The Unrated contains some cuts to Reiner talking to the Counselor when Reiner tells him what exactly Malkina has done on the windshield of his Ferrari. But we do not get to see more of Malkina.
Unrated 3.12 sec. longer
1:08:52: Reiner explains that the windshield was of course soiled after Malkina's deed, and that the windscreen washer did not work. He did not want to comply to Malkina's suggestion of licking it off, which is why he wiped it off with one of his socks in the end.
1:15:42: Laura awakes in the middle of the night and spontaneously calls Malkina. Laura tells her that she had a strange dream and wanted to make sure that Malkina is okay. She then asks Laura if she is superstitious, but she says that she is not that much. Malkina asks if Laura is a lesbian, which she denies. Laura then says that she knows that Malkina is thinking that her conception of the world is quite naive, but is it that bad to have some hope? Malkina, all nihilistic, says that she cannot help her now, but she tells her to be careful what she wishes for, because she might not get it. Laura looks a bit bewildered after the conversation has ended.
1:32:36: When the Counselor tells Reiner his argumentation strategy that he wants to use in the conversation with the people of the cartel, the Theatrical version contains a cut to Malkina, who is listening in on them. In the Unrated the camera stays on Reiner and the Counselor the whole time.
No difference in running time
1:36:51: The cartel guy who has been shot goes to the owner of the junkyard and gives him money so that he will take care of him and repair the truck.
1:44:10: Two boys are swimming in the pool, while their father is standing at the barbecue. Then one of Reiner's cheetahs can be seen next to the pool. The children call for their dad until he sees the animal; he is as surprised as his children.
1:52:55: The cartel boss says to the Counselor that he has to understand at some point in what kind of world he is making business. He says that this right now is not a brief hiatus. The Mexican mispronounces the word "hiatus", so the Counselor corrects him and even spells the word.
1:57:12: The cartel boss continues with his sermon in the Unrated and he says that only in desperation one can find the ancient realization that the philosopher's stone is cast into the dirt with contempt.
2:03:17: The Counselor, all desperate now, calls Laura's number again, but he only gets the recorded message that this line does not exist anymore. This is probably also the explanation of how the cartel knows where he is, in order to send him the DVD later on.
2:07:49: There is another shot in which the noose cuts deep into the neck of Westray, who is already bleeding heavily.
2:08:19: Westray's body is put on a stretcher. The men are lifting his upper body first, but his head falls off and is then put back to the rest of his body before the eyes of the shocked onlookers.