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REVIEW: The Counselor

REVIEW: The Counselor

If Pulitzer prize winning author Cormac McCarthy wrote it, you  know it’s bleak.  His apocalyptic “The Road” was so utterly depressing , many walked out. They couldn’t take it, costing Viggo Mortensen an Oscar nomination. Then there was the Oscar winning “No Country For Old Men”, scoring an Academy award for Javier Bardem , as the psychopathic killer. “The Counselor” reunites McCarthy with Bardem, who  adds to the list of his bad-hair  flicks.  This time it’s  all spiked out.  In “Skyfall” it was garishly  blonde and the worst of all was the ‘do in  his Oscar-winning role.

 The amazing Michael Fassbender gives  his second award-worthy role in as many weeks, following the limited release of the must-see  and already Gotham Indie award-nominated “12 Years A  Slave”. This week, he’s a nameless lawyer who looks to make a quick blowload (excuse the pun)  of money through the drug trade, despite  warnings from  high-fashioned Bardem and  Brad Pitt. You know from the get-go, this can’t end well. Which is an understatement.

The movie begins with the counselor in bed , pleasuring Penelope Cruz (who is Bardem’s real-life wife”. This is one of the few films where Fassbender doesn’t flaunt his manhood.

While director Ridley Scott  (“Alien”, “Gladiator” and “Blackhawk Down) doesn’t flinch from the  drug trade brutality (this is an uberly violent  film),  he throws in some comic relief, mostly thanks to the bad-haired but again  very stylized  and gold-toothed Cameron  Diaz, who  looks like a younger version of Ellen Barkin.  She plays the Cruella DeVille of drug dealers.  I promise, you will never ever  hear the word “catfish” again without  immediately flashing back to her  doing a commando split , humping a car windshield  with  Bardem’s mouth open in amazed horror.  Miley Cyrus  could take lessons from Diaz!!!!

The cast  includes , in tiny roles, a much-missed Rosie Perez, an equally missed Rueben Blades, Goran Visnjic and John Leguizamo.

This is one downer of a film.  You know early on how it ends. You just don’t know  how. It’s not a movie you “enjoy”.  It’s more a “trip”. A bad trip.  It’s  major flaw, besides a total lack of character development: it’s too too long at just under 2 hours.

I counsel an after-movie  drink  for “The Counselor”.

2-and-a-half stars


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