The film tells the story of a successful lawyer, known as The Counselor, who lets his greed get the best of him as he finds himself delving into the dark world of drug trafficking. The film also deals with the relationships between The Counselor and his clients and the world vice, money, good and evil.
“The Counselor” is most obviously kindred spirits to another Cormac McCarthy novel, “No Country For Old Men,” which was adapted to screen by the Coen brothers. The difference between the two isn’t that “The Counselor” is even murkier than that film (it is, though), it’s that McCarthy, a great novelist, treats the screenplay as though he were a scribe writing a great piece of literary work. This makes for a very well-written script but never really feels like a movie.
The actors speak as though they’re performing great theater and not telling a story about drug dealers and trafficking. As impressive as this script is, it’s a bit of a bother that the script is even more impressed with itself.
With Ridley Scott at the helm, no matter how visually lush or gorgeous the film is, it always feels like an action movie. With McCarthy’s script, it almost feels like Shakespeare’s “Drug Cartel” the play. But again, this doesn’t take away one’s enjoyment of the film. The movie is interesting and gripping and, like “No Country,” deals with greed in an uncompromising and grim way.
Cameron Diaz is a suitable merciless temptress, Javier Bardem is funny and captivating and Michael Fassbender puts on an unhinged and powerful performance as a man who refuses to be happy where he is and motivated to chase more– a “more” that ultimately costs.
“The Counselor” may come off as a Shakespeare impression, but it’s one of the better impressions you’ll find.
The Counselor opens today in theaters nationwide.