Sunday, October 27, 2013
The Dead End World of The Counselor (4 stars)
In this dangerous world of cocaine smuggling along the Mexican border, The Counselor has a soap opera style to it in highlighting the glamorous way that the pretty sexy people enjoy the fruits of their illegal labor. But simmering underneath the sexy, is a cold brutal paranoia that even Reiner (Javier Bardem) and Westray (Brad Pitt) try to convey to the counselor. They sense a slight apprehension in him, which is really just the counselor's conceited naivete, and then the chess pieces are set into place for the drug deal to occur. However, Malkina (Cameron Diaz), a cheetah obsessed sociopath, is so morally corrupt and predator like, that Reiner really has no idea how dangerous she is and the personal risks involved in this new deal. The counselor is once more reminded about what he's about to get in to, and he is told in no uncertain terms about an excruciating method of death that befalls double-crossers, and how snuff films have been made on the innocent by standers. Nope, still not fazed, he has to cover the $200,000 cost for Laura's diamond ring (purchased in Amsterdam), and his back is against the wall financially, so he sexily sips on his Bloody Mary and confirms he's in. Meanwhile, the other players in the transporting of the drugs set the wheels in motion of decapitating a drug runner on his motorcycle, and then steal the truck with the cocaine. With the truck missing along with the drugs, there's only one person to blame: The handsome, greedy, stupid counselor, how convenient.
The Counselor had several scenes that were brutally bloody, but it's also the scenes that we did not see that were equally as terrifying. The concept of a snuff film should automatically send chills down your spine, but short of watching one, knowing what such a film features is enough to horrify a decent person. The dialogue in the film made the principal characters seem more educated and intelligent than the usual depraved drug smugglers, and that also is a testament as to how much more cruel they could be too; the smarter you are, the more devious you are. I think the discourse of most of the conversations may prove to be too high-brow for some audiences (ie. chatty), and that is perhaps why some people don't like it. To them, it doesn't make sense because you know what... you have to pay attention to what they are saying because the dialogue spells out what is happening, and what is going to happen, and why. As in 'No Country for Old Men' and 'The Road', Cormac McCarthy yet again shows how desperate people can make very bad decisions, as well as how brutally cold and evil people are. In her limited screen time, Penelope Cruz was fine, and Javier Bardem was great as well. Brad Pitt was good as a shady character who was paranoid, and he had every right to be. A lot of criticism has attacked Cameron Diaz' performance as Malkina, but for a sexy, jaded, ruthless, narcissist, Cameron looked great and did a find job with Malkina. As usual, Michael Fassbender was fantastic. His character was never named, he was just referred to as the counselor. He started out as beautiful and successful, and ended up with absolutely nothing. His final scene was wrecked with such emotion and it left you wondering, what would eventually happen to him. The drug cartel already destroyed him, the rest of his life will be utter misery knowing that he knocked down the first domino that changed his world.
Grade: 4 out of 5
ps. I had a great time with Myriam in watching the film with her, talking fassy politics & gossip, and eating sushi afterwards!