“That’s what greed does, it takes you to the edge.” – The Counselor
“That’s what greed is, the edge” – Reiner
The Counselor is about an attorney, played well (but not brilliantly) by Michael Fassbender, who gets “in” on a huge drug deal. The others involved in this shady business try to warn him of the dangers but he ignores them. In stark contrast to this risky business is his true love for his fiance played by a very sultry Penelope Cruz.
There has been much negative press about Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott’s collaboration. I think much of it has to do with preconceptions about what this movie is. This is not a heist movie, nor a gangster/mob movie in any classical sense. What it is, is a cautionary tale, pure and simple. As such it is a great succes. Just don’t go in expecting a plot that you can really follow and you’ll be fine.
A stellar cast: the aforementioned Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Pitt, Bardem and a surprisingly excellent Cameron Diaz, fill the screen in filmic splendour. Sure, the dialogues are oftentimes convoluted. The plot is downright confusing. Many reviewers find that they just don’t get why the Counselor buys in on the deal.
But it all serves a purpose. We are watching the haves play risky games, whilst the have nots are largely silent and do the suffering. At least, until the shit hits the fan. And then, as the expression goes: everybody gets stinky or worse. No amount of coolness, aloofness or indeed true love can shield the players from the deadly fallout of their game. This is a harrowing tale that gets its message across by having the viewer experience the chaos, confusion and pain first hand.
For all those who think that cocaine is a harmless guilty pleasure, think again. There are people dying gruesome deaths to traffic it up your nose. That is the message Cormac seems to be sending. Coupled with the fact that its not really that much fun to be a gangster..
I was pleasantly surprised by The Counselor and give it a wholehearted thumbs up for being immersive, tragic and inevitable.