The Counselor (2013) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.

  • A rich and successful lawyer, the Counselor, is about to get married to his fiancée but soon becomes entangled in a complex drug plot with a middle-man known as Westray. The plan ends up taking a horrible twist and he must protect himself and his soon to be bride as the truth of the drug business is uncovered and targets are eliminated.

  • The Counselor, decides to get involved with one of his clients who happens to be be a lucrative drug smuggler and decides that a "one time" drug smuggle couldn't hurt his financial pockets that seem to be hurting. Needing to wait only a few days to come up with the money to get involved with this endeavor, the plot unfolds & unbeknownst to (Bardem) or the Counselor (Fassbender), Malkina intends to "double cross" them BOTH!

  • Desperately in need of cash to pay off his rapidly-increasing debt, the Counselor--a suave and prominent lawyer--decides to enter the obscure world of drug trafficking, in an ill-advised, one-off deal that would make him rich enough to support a lavish lifestyle and his new girlfriend, Laura. Driven by greed, the successful advocate is bent on putting to good use his connections to the criminal underworld--the nightclub owner, Reiner, and the seedy middleman, Westray--however, keeping ignoring the fact that theirs is a violent, destructive, and unforgiving world. Unwisely, the Counselor thinks that he knows all the angles to succeed; nevertheless, what happens if the deal goes wrong?

  • The Counselor, from a script by Cormac McCarthy, stars Michael Fassbender as the title character, a slick lawyer who is madly in love with Laura (Penelope Cruz). He asks her to marry him, and she agrees, though she is unaware that serious financial troubles have prompted him to fund a drug deal with a shady but established middle man named Westray (Brad Pitt), that could bring in millions. Part of the counselor's financial troubles stem from the fact that he's investing in a club being opened by his best friend Reiner (Javier Bardem), a hedonist and occasional client who has attained his wealth by any means necessary, and likes to keep his wife, Malkina (Cameron Diaz) covered in all the accouterments the wealthy enjoy. However, when the drug deal starts to go wrong, the counselor finds himself unprepared to deal with the fallout, and soon he's trying to protect his bride-to-be as well as himself from the wrath of a drug cartel that has no qualms about exacting revenge..


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The movie begins with Counselor (Michael Fassbender) and his girlfriend Laura (Penélope Cruz) in bed engaging in sexual activity and then switches back and forth to another scene where Mexicans are concealing cocaine in a sewerage truck.

    Counselor then goes to Amsterdam for "business", but he is really going there to buy Laura a diamond ring because he intends proposing to her.

    Later, Counselor meets with Reiner (Javier Bardem) who influences the Counselor to get involved in drug trafficking to make a substantial amount of money. Counselor agrees with Reiner and a meeting is organised with Westray (Brad Pitt), a business associate of Reiner, to get the ball rolling.

    Westray explains to the Counselor the severe consequences that could ensue as a result of getting into bed with the Mexican cartel. However, Counselor is keen to continue on with the drug deal.

    The Counselor then visits Ruth (Rosie Perez), a client in prison, at her request. At the meeting, Ruth notifies the Counselor of her son (Richard Cabral) who has been imprisoned for speeding on his motorbike. Ruth also outlines to the Counselor that Richard was caught with $12,000, but she does not know where the money came from and what further charges were laid against Richard. Counselor assures Ruth that he will get Richard out of prison as a favour for her.

    However, little does Counselor know that Richard possesses an engine component, held inside his bike helmet, which operates the sewerage truck holding the cocaine.

    In the next scene, Reiner and Counselor have a lengthy conversation regarding Reiner's girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz). Reiner explains to Counselor that although he loves Malkina, he is also afraid of her because of her unpredictable and questionable behaviour.

    Unsurprisingly to the viewer, we see Malkina chatting with "the Wireman" (Sam Spruell) whereby her intentions are revealed - to follow Richard (who holds the component to the truck containing the cocaine) and obtain the component.

    In a brutal killing scene, Wireman beheads Richard and obtains the component and the truck containing the cocaine. Later on, Wireman is stopped by some men in a police car, however, Wireman is cautious and suspects the 'police' to really be the Mexican drug cartel wanting their cocaine back. Wireman's suspicions lead his partner to initiate a shootout: one member of the cartel is killed and his partner manages to kill both Wireman and his partner thereby re-securing the drugs stolen from the cartel.

    Nevertheless, the cartel is out for blood because somebody stole their cocaine. Unfortunately for the Counselor, all clues lead to him given that he was the lawyer who 'represented' and got Richard out of jail. The Westray opines that the cartel view this as no coincidence and that Counselor had a part to play in the attempted robbery of the cartel's cocaine.

    Subsequently, the cartel initiates a mental breakdown of the Counselor and kidnap his girlfriend Laura. Meanwhile, Reiner is killed in a gunfight with the cartel because his girlfriend, Malkina, who was really the person behind the attempted robbery of the cocaine, is short of money.

    Malkina decides to escape the cartel and go after Westray, who, after discovering the messy situation, fled to London. Malkina tracks down Westray and hires an American girl to seduce him and acquire his computer password, bank account details etc which she does successfully.

    Malkina hires more men to kill Westray using a self-tightening 'suicide collar' and acquire his computer in one of the most brutal killings in a movie. Malkina then expresses to her banker her intentions to move to Hong Kong.

    As for Counselor, he contacts a man by the name of "Jefe" (Rubén Blades), a high ranking cartel member, to try and track down Laura. However, Jefe refuses, and merely explains to the Counselor that his fate was sealed as soon as he made the decision to initiate the drug trafficking and implies to Counselor that instead of trying to fix his mistakes, he should rather accept his fate.

    Counselor has a breakdown and in the next scene we see the Counselor take delivery of a DVD with the word "Hola!" which implies it is a "snuff film" of his girlfriend Laura being brutally murdered by the cartel.

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