The renegade style of ‘The Counselor’ shines

With all of the disposable rubbish that comes out of Hollywood, it’s a breath of fresh air when a good movie is released. It’s so unfortunate that the film industry has had the stink of the comic book genre linger on the business for years now. It would seem that a lot of the movies that get greenlit nowadays are the results of overeducated agents, ne’er-do-well producers and excessive cocaine use. But all of those bad feelings were purged upon one screening of “The Counselor.”

“The Counselor” is a lurid, violent and introspective film depicting a lawyer’s decision to enter the world of drug trafficking. Micheal Fassbender portrays the title character in a solid performance. He is facing money troubles in the film and with a lavish lifestyle to protect as well as a new fiancée,
Laura (Penelope Cruz), he is lured into the underworld with the Texas/Mexico backdrop as the film’s setting. Academy Award-winner Javier Bardem plays Reiner, a business associate and friend of the Counselor. It’s no fluke why Bardem won the Oscar in 2007 for “No Country for Old Men.”
This man can flat out bring it theatrically, as he turns in one of the film’s best performances.

Without a doubt, the film’s high point is Cameron Diaz’s portrayal of Malkina, Reiner’s cold, cunning and calculating girlfriend. Diaz should most definitely attract the Academy’s attention in
February as her performance steals the film. In probably one of the most iconic scenes in the last 15 years, Malkina and Reiner are parked in a yellow drop-top Ferrari, when she calmly and casually proceeds to pull off her undergarments, does a full split on the windshield of the Ferrari and writhes on it until she reaches orgasm. The scene will solidify its status in movie history, right up there with Tom Cruise in his tighty-whities in “Risky Business,” Pacino getting shot at the end of
“Carlito’s Way” and Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon driving off of the cliff to evade police in
“Thelma and Louise.”

Westray is played by Brad Pitt, who renewed the spirit of collaboration again in “The Counselor” by teaming up again with director Ridley Scott. The two had previously worked together on the aforementioned “Thelma and Louise.” Scott does a masterful job behind the camera. It’s almost as if you can see his younger brother Tony Scott’s influence on him. The frenetic and renegade style of filmmaking shines through on this project, almost as if Tony was on set with Ridley working side by side together.

An all-star cast, a fantastic screenplay crafted by Cormac McCarthy, and a modest film budget of $25 million, make this movie simply impressive. I’m predicting nothing less than several Oscar nominations at the Staples Center this February 2014. The confluent editing and cinematography was all top-shelf. The Counselor is one of the best movies of 2013.

Follow Izzy Israel on Twitter @El_Pinaculo.


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