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Popcorn Preview: The Counselor

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Film: The Counselor (2013)
Cast includes: Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Cameron Diaz (There's something about Mary), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds), Rosie Perez (Pineapple Express)
Writer: Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road)
Director: Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down, Prometheus)
Genre: Drama | Crime | Thriller | Noir (117 minutes)

"Are you awake?" It's almost 2:00 in the afternoon. The love makers aren't ready to leave the warm cocoon of white sheets just yet. His flight to Amsterdam isn't until 7:40. "God, you're sexy," she says. "Tell me what you want me to do to you." "I want you to touch me... down there... [gasp]... You've ruined me, you know." "I know that." Meanwhile, across the boarder in a filthy Mexican garage, we see barrels of cocaine being welded into the belly of a tanker truck... before being filled with raw sewage. Another meanwhile... the plains of southern Texas look like the Serengeti, as Reiner and Malkina watch their pet cheetah run down a jackrabbit. The anticipation of a kill is exhilarating! In Amsterdam, the Counselor visits a high-end diamond merchant. "I want to give her something she won't be uncomfortable wearing." "She's probably a lot braver than you think." They're stunningly beautiful stones, but they pale in comparison to the "cautionary diamond," the one the merchant shows last. "It's the diamond that says we're not to be diminished by the brevity of our lives."

At Reiner's excessively lavish Texas home, the Counselor is there to talk about joining Reiner's latest "business venture." Reiner wouldn't offer a share to just anyone. "The way I see it... a law degree is a license to steal... but you've really capitalized on is." But in all fairness, Reiner has to warn the Counselor, "If you pursue this road you've embarked upon, you will have entered into moral decisions that will take you completely by surprise." The Counselor hears him, but he's thinking about the rewards. When he proposes to Laura... giving her the magnificent diamond... he honestly feels no price is too high for the pleasure of making her so happy. "I intend to love you until the day I die." "Me first," Laura answers. Later at Reiner's home, Laura has a chance to meet Malkina, Reiner's latest woman. What does Malkina know about this venture? Reiner has no idea. All he knows is, "smart women are a very expensive hobby." Malkina is indeed smart. She's dying to tell Laura how much that diamond is worth, but Laura doesn't want to know. She's deliciously quaint.

This "venture" has a great many moving parts, and when it goes off the rails, it will indeed become more dangerous than the Counselor bargained for. "You may think there are things these people are incapable of. There are not, Counselor." Beheadings and mutilations are just business with these people. This is a very violent movie! It's not just the violence depicted on the screen... it's also the violence they paint in our imaginations. Writer, Cormac McCarthy and Director, Ridley Scott are both masters of dark, violent and twisted storytelling... and they've outdone themselves with this one. It's certainly not a movie for everyone, but if it's your kind of movie, you'll marvel at how the remarkable acting is so in-sync with the artfully philosophical and poetic word crafting. It's a wonderfully stylish film, as well. Don't be concerned if the details are elusive at first. Gradually, the picture becomes clearer, as dread and momentum build. "It's not that you're going down, Counselor... it's what you're taking down with you."

3 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
The lawyer was warned that this drug trafficking venture could get ugly... he should have used his imagination

Popcorn Profile
Rated: R (Language, violence, sexual content, crime, drugs)
Audience: Young adults
Distribution: Mainstream wide release
Mood: Sober
Tempo: Zips right along
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Primary Driver: Plot development
Language: Artful
Social Significance: Pure entertainment

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