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A deal gone way, way wrong: hell for all in Cormac McCarthy’s first original screenplay that shines in Ridley Scott’s The Counselor

“The truth has no temperature”

In the latest Cormac McCarthy movie-make, we have a really good-looking cast to carry out the American novelists’ well-known literary voice that’s debuting for the first time creating an original screenplay in a way us viewers are supposed to love and believe. You know, just like No Country for Old Men and Child of God.

Which I did; I loved Ridley Scott’s The Counselor in its entirety: the bold alignment of extreme luxury (diamonds and cocaine!) and severe poverty (lots of scumbags!) throughout recognizable in all of McCarthy’s books via Dariusz Wolski’s brilliant cinematography, the way Javier Bardem was a total fucking guid in the most hilarious and amazing way possible—the cheetahs! It was all fun, and of course, super, super dark.

There is the well-off lawyer the Counselor (Michael Fassbander, whom I first fell in love with in Fish Tank and later in Shame) headed for a classic McCarthy-style downfall who is on his way to marrying the love of his life Laura (Penelope Cruz). And you’d THINK he has it all after seeing him walk around Amsterdam looking all suave living in a really fancy apartment, but it’s just not enough. Because life is really expensive, and sometimes you gotta hit up big shot nightclub owners to get in on a dirty money making deal, no matter who keeps warning you it might be the worst possible idea.

So the Counselor seeks out the spike-haired Reiner (Javier Bardem) for a connect to possibly get in on this super awful plan to kill some guy on who possesses the keys to some shady truck filled with dope that’s supposed to trek across the middle of nowhere, and with the help of a mysteriously philosophical Westray (Brad Pitt) this is all a definite possibility. Because he knows a guy who knows a guy, and the next thing you know a hit man’s setting up a plot for the key holder who’s unknowingly headed for a bloody demise (pun totally intended if you saw the movie).

Javier Bardem The Counselor

The Counselor wouldn’t be as much fun without, well, pretty much everything about Reiner along his over-the-top lavish girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz). Oh is she a trip! The two are the definition of crazy, but in a scene where Malkina gets on top of Reiner’s windshield and does a little “dance”, you just have to sit back and laugh. But not for too long, because after that things go downhill for virtually everyone involved in the “deal” that later turns into a blood-filled ransom.

As far as an average movie-goer is concerned, The Counselor didn’t give a crystal clear ending. Regardless, Scott and McCarthy’s collaboration didn’t come close to disappointing. But did the intriguing dialog spewing from some of our favorite actors’ mouths prove to be hard to handle at times? Yes. Am I still pondering the Hola! DVD at the end? Well, of course! Was the dead body in the truck Fassbender’s girlfriend? Maybe. Do I REALLY get the point of all the cheetahs? Not at all (although I did love them).

That being said, The Counselor was pure entertainment at best. I didn’t leave the movie with the same feeling I would having just read a McCarthy novel (or say, watching Scott Haze as Lester in James Franco’s latest McCarthy adaptation of Child of God). However, expect nothing: because this one will definitely surprise you.

(via youtube; photos via Breathe Cast & Chud)


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Kaitlin Duffy is a writer from Cleveland. When she's not blogging or pondering the great complexities of the world and outer space, she is finding rare vinyl steals, visiting new places, laughing often, Instagramming everything in sight, watching movies, or working on her first feature Port de Cleve.