Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Counselor

Plot: The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is funding his first drug deal with associates Reiner (Javier Bardem) and Westray (Brad Pitt).  The Counselor is feeling good, so he buys a big diamond engagement ring for girlfriend Laura (Penelope Cruz.) Reiner's mysterious girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz) is a fem fatale with two pet Cheetahs, underworld friends,  and a car-load of sexual energy. Someone intercepts their drug shipment and the funders worry for their lives. [imdb]    [photos]

Review: The Counselor is a farcical drama about a drug deal going bad, and how its unravelling destroys lives of the white collar masterminds and their girlfriends. To enjoy the movie you need to appreciate the absurd little side stories, beautiful images, and philosophical speeches. This means plot-oriented viewers might want to stay home. The absurdity of the story makes it lighter, but never actually funny. 

Misogyny is the hatred of women, and there is a big dose of it. From the opening oral sex scene, to Cameron Diaz's bizarre car sex scene, to the closing confessional about how killing provides a woman sexual gratification, writer McCarthy piles it on.

I like most of the performances especially Javier Bardem and Cameron Diaz. Michael Fassbender provides a everyman character that we can identify with -- he underacts at the beginning, but gets more emotive as his life crumbles.

Aside from the misogyny, the writing tends toward the wordy and philosophical -- I adjusted my expectations toward a slower paced movie, and went with it.

The photography is wonderful. The set design is cool and lush. There are a few good Spanish songs, but no soundtrack has been issued. 

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Written by: Cormac McCarthy

Rating: 2.5 stars: good enough for 3 stars but minus 1/2 for the women bashing

More: Javier Bardem's hair deserves an Oscar by itself. It's like a separate character. The best hair since Merida in Brave, and hers was CGI!