The Counselor (Fassbender) is a lawyer looking for some quick cash to maintain his lavish lifestyle. As he and his girlfriend Laura (Cruz) live in El Paso Texas, a town situated on the infamous Tex-Mex border, dabbling in the illicit yet lucrative drug trade is the obvious choice.
He is dealing with a variety of characters including the mysterious urban cowboy type Westray (Pitt) who seems to be the money man/go-between for the drug cartel. Westray warns him against getting involved, to no avail. The Counselor’s business partner Reiner (Bardem) is also dubious but is rather more pragmatic about it all. He has his own hands full with his cold-as-ice yet brilliantly clever girlfriend Malkina (Diaz).
The exact details of the deal are never fully disclosed, you kinda piece it together as you go along. Each person warns against involvement and these warnings are delivered in long, sometimes unnecessarily long, monologues that are full of deep philosophical advice. For the most part, they seem out-of-place. Granted, they are sombre and graphic warnings of the dangers ahead but I doubt those in the drug trade would speak like this. I doubt anyone does to be honest. The one bright light is Bardem, whose wild haired, neurotic musings are played for laughs. His timing and facial expressions are priceless…..and perfect
Needless to say, all warning are ignored, the deal takes place and things go terribly wrong. As the plot thickens and more characters are introduced, it gets very interesting and increasingly violent as the cartel enacts its revenge. The Counselor is in way out of his depth and time is running out.
By this time, I was finding the twists, turns and double dealings a touch bewildering. As I mentioned before, the details are never fully explained so by the time you figure it all out, the game pieces have moved and you have to scramble to keep up. And you must try to keep up because something mentioned in passing earlier in the movie suddenly makes sense.
I did like this movie but we could have done without all those long, long monologues. We could have seen more of the immensely talented Cruz, who is sadly used sparingly. But when she is onscreen, her fresh and freckley wide-eyed innocence is the perfect contrast to the heavily made-up and icily sly demeanor of Diaz’s bad girl.
Fassbender’s Counselor, who is beyond stupid to have become involved with Mexican drug cartels in the first place, has a genuine chemistry with Bardem’s Reiner and the pair share some genuinely funny moments. The absolute gem is the retelling of Reiner’s Bently experience. That alone is worth the admission price.
This movie will not appeal to everyone and is most definitely not the Brad Pitt vehicle it’s being marketed as. It is heavy on dialogue but also heavy on action, with some pretty graphic violence …… those Mexican drug cartels sure do like their beheadings.
What this movie does is continue to cement Fassbender’s reputation as the actor to watch and with his only serious rival to the title, the supremely talented Ryan Gosling supposedly taking some time away from the cameras (again) ……
Love Flick xx
Director : Ridley Scott
Starring : Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Rosie Perez, Richard Cabral, Cesar Aguirre
Running Time : 117 minutes
Release Date : November 7