Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Cynical. Ruthless. Unmerciful. A modern day Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Ridley Scott’s uncompromising neo-noir gem The Counselor is tack-sharp filmmaking, never afraid to head into the bleakest of territory, always ready to inflict a death-blow. Boasting a career-defining performance from Cameron Diaz as the ultimate femme fatale and a rogues gallery of sleazy supporting turns (Javi...er Bardem, Brad Pitt, Bruno Ganz, Ruben Blades, Toby Kebbell, Dean Norris, John Leguizamo), the film is anchored by Michael Fassbender’s brilliantly modulated performance as a man who thinks he knows how to swim with the sharks but fast realizes that he’s but a mere guppy and dinner is about to be served. The Counselor died a fast death at the box-office and critics sliced into it with as much vicious aplomb as writer Cormac McCarthy brought to his ultra-sadistic landscape of drug-dealers and killers. I think that this movie scared people too much; they didn’t like their sexy Hollywood stars getting killed and acting like ass-holes and it was a turn-off for many people. I think people were afraid of what McCarthy’s prose has to say about the human condition, how we’re all just lions lying in wait, looking for our next meal, no matter the consequences or repercussions of our (potentially disastrous) decisions. Being that The Counselor is the work of Ridley Scott, there’s a sexy élan to the visual style, with cinematographer Dariusz Wolski bathing the film in a sinister gloss that reflects the new-money-opulence of the morally bankrupt characters. Nobody is safe in this film, nothing is what it seems, and the final moments are some of the nastiest to come out of Hollywood in many years. Scott’s choices in projects typically veers towards the epic, but it’s interesting to note that two of his most interesting works as a filmmaker (The Counselor and Matchstick Men) find him playing on a smaller scale. This is a cold-hearted, brilliant anti-thriller that doesn’t play by any traditional rules.

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