By Diego Olivares
“The Counselor” is a flawed yet interesting nasty piece of cinema. Directed by master filmmaker Ridley Scott, “The Counselor” is a visually stunning film with the blackest of hearts.
The film follows a lawyer, played by Michael Fassbender, who deals with shady characters in the Texas wasteland.
He soon gets way over his head when both his and his wife’s lives are put in danger. Adding to the danger are Mexican drug dealers, a vampy villainess, played by Cameron Diaz, and other crime-ridden figures.
Written by famed author Cormac McCarthy, the film doesn’t really come off as a standard thriller. Instead, it presents a chilling and bleak world ruled by crime and examining the dark figures living there.
The first half of the film comes off as confusing. There’s a lot of very confusing explanations in the story and it’s really hard to follow. It ends up being frustrating following the storyline creating the biggest weakness of the film.
It’s not until the second half of the film where the story starts to pick-up.
Much of this due to the dark tone the film slowly develops.
Where most films try to have wholesome heroes and easy solutions, “The Counselor” offers none of these.
There’s a sense of reality added into the film, brought upon by the crime-ridden nature of the world the story is set in.
Presented are characters that commit amoral actions for their own selfish reasons.
This results in the victimizing of more innocent figures who’s chances of hope is nowhere in sight for them.
Michael Fassbender does a marvelous job as the helpless lawyer. He gives the feeling of someone trapped in a deadly situation. Penelope Cruz plays Fassbender’s wife, the only character that projects any humanity in the film.
Cameron Diaz does a terrific job playing the cold-heart villain of the piece. Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt give good supporting performances as well.
Such visual beauty wraps the film’s darkness with Scott’s visual style, the strength in many of his works, shining well here.
The look of the film is both raw and stylish.
There’s a deathly feeling created from the way the Texas landscapes are visualized. It’s a very beautiful looking film.
Even though the plot is messy and confusing during the start, “The Counselor” is saved by strong performances, stunning visuals, and a dark mood.
“The Counselor” is rated R for graphic violence, some grisly images, strong sexual content and language.