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Movie review – The Counselor

| 26 October 2013 | Reply

Movie review – The Counselor
Directed by Ridley Scott, written by Cormac McCarthy
Starring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

The Counselor movie

From the opening scene of Ridley Scott’s morality tale The Counselor, it’s obvious this is an anti-Hollywood movie. Laura (a radiant and barely made up Penelope Cruz) is enjoying an intimate moment under pure white sheets with her lover (Michael Fassbender). The innocence of the scene is almost too heavy handed, but the point is made strikingly.

Known only as The Counselor, Fassbender’s lawyer character falls fast after he invests in a ‘one time’ drug deal with middle man Westray (Brad Pitt) to finance a nightclub deal with the increasingly wired Reiner (Javier Bardem). All seems to be going swimmingly until his apparent compassion in freeing the son of a jailed client brings about a coincidence which sends the whole house of cards tumbling down.

Heads quite literally roll as the deal gets hijacked, Reiner’s girlfriend Malkina (A cruel and cheetah-tattooed Cameron Diaz) hovering archly over proceedings like the angel of death – the complete opposite to the innocent Laura.

There’s not a lot more can be said without giving the twists and turns of The Counselor away.

Imagery is everywhere. In Malkina’s pet cheetahs chasing a jackrabbit in the desert dust. In the long conversations between The Counselor and Westray or Reiner or Laura that seem rambling at the time but illuminate in hindsight. In the unbearable tension that Scott draws out like a taught bowstring as we spiral towards the bloody final act.

The leads deliver stunning performances, especially Fassbender, who appears in the lion’s share of scenes. His bewilderment, like a fish flopping around out of water, when the deal goes bad would carry a lesser film.

As the poster screams, ‘Sin is a choice’, and if you dance with the devil, there are consequences to pay. If there’s a moral to the story, it is perhaps that whilst the normally wild cheetahs may be tame, the people are anything but, and the most telling line comes from Malkina just before the credits roll.

“To see a quarry killed with elegance… it has never failed to move me.”


Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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