Riddle me this! Ridley Scott me that! “The Counselor” might be more than it appears, maybe. Hello again moviegoers, Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor” based on the script by Cormac McCarthy is a crime thriller about what happens to the players when they fail to deliver more than it is about the players themselves.
The players are an all-star ensemble cast led by the Counselor (played by Michael Fassbender), Laura (Penelope Cruz), Malkina (Cameron Diaz), Reiner (Javier Bardem), and Westray (played by Brad Pitt).
‘The Counselor’ (two sweet potatoes out of four) Stars: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt; Director: Ridley Scott; Genre: crime thriller; Rated R; Runtime: 117 minutes; opens Friday, Oct. 25th.
Scott chose to film this movie from the philosophical point of view of the institution of organized drug smuggling. The individual stories of the main characters are marginalized with many of the details being left out as the focus here is on how the institution responds when the shipment of a large amount of drugs encounters a number of interruptions.
The plot is difficult to keep straight at times as it moves around, but it always returns the journey of the drug shipment.
The Counselor is in love with Laura and he is ready to take the next step with the purchase of a pricey engagement ring. However, a run-in with a previous client suggests the attorney’s ethics might have been questionable in the past – a past Laura is unfamiliar with. And now he’s party to the trafficking of a substantial dollar value of drugs.
Westray seems to have it all figured out and appears content. He understands it’s not a matter of if but rather when someone’s number is called, so to speak. Malkina is the intermediary of the institution in this instance and Reiner is the connective tissue between all parties.
When a young courier meets his end on a desolate highway, the pace of the film escalates in its consequential aspects. As the Counselor looks for a solution to his situation, he only encounters guys who want to wax poetic about the choices you make and the changing world in which one might exist because of their choices.
The shooting style bespeaks some level of realism which I found chilling in its disregard for life and its insistence on death as the measure of accountability. This, I think, represents ‘the institution’ philosophically and that more than anything else is what ‘The Counselor’ is about.
I like the idea here more than I liked this particular film. Greater focus and fewer characters with more interesting aspects to their lives for the film to have not focused on would have made for a more appealing film. Ultimately there is no counsel for the Counselor in ‘The Counselor’ but I give “The Counselor” two sweet potatoes out of four.
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