Monday, November 11, 2013

This 'Counselor' Needs Some Guidance

There is a scene in Ridley Scott's The Counselor where Michael Fassbender (as the nameless title character) and Javier Bardem go to an empty strip joint in the middle of the day.  I can't remember what they were talking about, but I do remember that there was an overly large disco ball hanging from the ceiling.  Even with these two studly specimens of modern cinema traipsing before me, I couldn't focus on the Cormac McCarthy dialogue.  I couldn't even bring myself to focus on the displays of manliness in front of me.  I could only look at that garish disco ball, and I wish the entire movie was as big, ugly and over-the-top as this was.  

To be perfectly honest, I was lost a lot during this movie.  The dialogue goes on and on as the characters strut around these elaborate pieces of property.  The Counselor (Fassy, in all his all but the top two buttons glory) gets into the drug trade.  His friends Reiner (Bardem) and Westray (Brad Pitt) continually ask him if he's sure of his decision.  The Counselor wants to provide a nice lifestyle for his girlfriend (Penelope Cruz), and soon they are engaged.  Fassbender has a scene early in the movie with a jeweler played by Bruno Ganz.  They talk about the size and color of diamonds in an opulent room, and I wondered if it would've been simpler to go to Jared's.  

It doesn't take long for things to go wrong, and $20 million goes missing.  I just didn't get it.  Oh well.

The one thing that did work, however, was Cameron Diaz.  In one of the year's most talked about scenes, Bardem recounts a story to The Counselor about his girlfriend banging the windshield of his Ferrari.  Diaz humps the piece of glass with shocking expert skill.  She plays a character like Samantha Jones on crack.  Diaz scowls and slinks throughout the entire picture, wearing animal prints and hooded capes.  A sexually forward woman with violence brewing under her skin, Diaz is the one thing that was at least entertaining for me.  The dialogue in this was mystifying, but it appears that she is the only one who is willing to take it on.  I am not saying that she necessarily makes it work, but she's far better than Fassy or Cruz in it.  

There is something about The Counselor that stayed with me.  It doesn't feel like a case of "it was so bad I won't forget it to me."  Another viewing might make me appreciate or hate it more, but I don't think I could bring myself to sit through it again at the moment.  

At the end of Reiner's car humping story, he looks surprised that he even told it, and The Counselor asks why he told him such a laughably lurid story.  Reiner admits that he isn't sure why he revealed it.  I don't know why I want to see it again.    

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