Monday, October 28, 2013

The Counselor: Cormac's gangsters without the humor

I expected something significant of “The Counselor”, coming from Ridley Scott and based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy, but what I saw Monday evening lacked the humor of Coen Brothers’s “satires” and seemed a bit perfunctory, if spectacular.

At the end, I at least wanted to see the cheetahs roaming in Big Bend, as (rather like the tiger in Pi) the only winners in this bloodbath, as they escape during a drug gun fight. 

The centrum for the film is a rather opportunistic lawyer “Councelor” (Michael Fassbender), who seems to want in on a “better” life.  Yup, he goes to Amsterdam to get the best possible diamond ring for a finance (Penelope Cruz), and I would not have done that when I was dating heterosexually (even though one of my short stories, as edited, implies that I might have).  He wants in, and slick-talking Westray (Brad Pitt) seems amicable enough.  Javier Bardem and Cameron Diaz round out this mess.  The basic trouble is that all the characters are despicable, and there just is no grounding in any of them.  I liked only the cats. Oh, what finally happens to Westray on the streets of London in broad daylight is horrific enough.  That’s how organized crime works. Heads roll in this film, more than once. 
Oh, the film looks sharp. It shows you wide-screen vistas of Juarez, and El Paso and the surrounding desert. My first weekend living in Texas, in January 1979, I actually spent in El Paso, and drove a rental car into Juarez a few miles.  I wouldn’t do that now.  Then I went up to White Sands, getting waved by border stations because I am white.  A coworker from Dallas, went down way into Mexico by himself in the spring of 1979 and got a flat tire, but made it back.  It’s dangerous out there.
Actually, my first weekend as an official resident of New York City, Labor Day in 1974, was spent in Mexico City, and I was actually at the “inauguration” of a new president of Mexico.

The official site from Fox is here
I saw this film before a small audience Monday night at the posh AMC Courthouse in Arlington VA.

I was reminded of "Touch of Evil" with its border sequence.  The existential meeting between Counselor and Pitt's character early in the film reminded me of an after-show dessert with a friend in New York in the 1970's, which led me to interesting emotional places.  

No comments: