‘The Counselor’ questions ‘primal instincts’
Logan Qualls | reporter
Despite a talented cast, gripping cinematography and intense action oozing with style, “The Counselor” fails to satisfy.
Directed by Ridley Scott, the film explores the real life consequences of avarice using the volatile area around Juarez, Mexico and Texas border as the backdrop.
The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) delves into the darker side of the drug business, upon the advice from his friend, Reiner (Javier Bardem). At the same time, he becomes engaged to a beautiful woman, Laura (Penelope Cruz). Driven by greed, the Counselor’s risky investment becomes a very real threat and the status, the world he’s created, comes crashing down around him.
Reiner does well for himself, opening numerous nightclubs with the money earned from trafficking drugs. His stunning girlfriend, Malkina (Cameron Diaz) whose predatory personality both intrigues and terrifies Reiner, accentuates his lavish and exotic lifestyle. Reiner realizes that Malkina knows much more about his business than he had previously thought.
Though her motive is kept enigmatic throughout much of the film, Malkina is tenacious when pursuing something she wants. Her constant need for wealth and power drive her actions to become increasingly primal and brutal.
Diaz plays the part well, her character shocking the audience with her unapologetically sexual and primal maliciousness. In particular the scene with the Ferrari will surprise and confuse many audiences.
The Counselor seeks the advice of his business associate, Westray (Brad Pitt), who set up the deal in the first place while still warning the Counselor of the inherent danger involved with drug trafficking. The payout, enticingly lucrative at first, now seems inconsequential when compared to the fears and dangers associated with dealing with the Mexican cartel.
Performances by Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt give the film some of its more entertaining characters. Their supporting roles serve to inch the plot forward while simultaneously providing these outlandish men whose arrogance, mingled with intelligence, is enough to charm the audience.
The score, composed by Daniel Pemberton, provided a full orchestral sound that’s powerful and moving. In addition, the score also utilizes the guitar to match the tone and location of the setting.
“The Counselor” takes audiences on a ride into the depravity of human greed while questioning our primal instincts and predatory/prey relationships. The film has a lot of promise, but loses audiences with its torturously complicated plot.