Astrology: Film: ‘The Counselor’ (2013)

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Directed by Ridley Scott, with a screenplay by novelist Cormac McCarthy, The Counselor is populated by one innocent  and a bunch of other characters  stretching between El Paso and Juarez who, on the morality scale, range from common baddies to outright demons.

The man identified in the script at the Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is one of those guys whom we want to believe has some redemptive juices left in him after he makes a decision that has a massive potential downside. To ensure a financial future for himself and his loving girlfriend (Penelope Cruz), he has entered into a drug deal which, if it goes wrong, could wreak havoc not only on himself but also on his buddies. As one character points out, “Actions produce consequences.”

The Counselor evokes the Swedish film Easy Money (Snabba Cash), directed by Daniel Espinosa, in which a clever but impoverished business student (Joel Kinnaman) who wants to significantly better his lifestyle and network of friends gets drawn into an underworld scenario that quickly unravels. Fassbender’s character here, a lawyer, already has his share of monied clients, the most riveting of whom is Reiner (Javier Bardem), who lives on a ranch the size of a small country with conniving, feral Malkina (Cameron Diaz) and two cheetahs that sport jewel-studded collars.

Visually stunning and highly stylized, The Counselor is akin to listening to poetic sermons from surprisingly eloquent denizens of hell (Brad Pitt, among them) warning the protagonist not to proceed because, well, the Cartel folks are really bad people.

The movie’s downward spiral is gorgeously Plutonic – Hades seduced Persephone in a glorious field of flowers, after all – and much of what’s to come is revealed in the film’s beatific and prophetic opening moments which I’m calling “sex in a shroud.”

Don’t look for logic to shed light on character motivation. Decisions are murky – like much of the dialog – and are made emotionally. Even for the best of hunters, there’s no retracing one’s steps when Hell’s the open pit. Especially, McCarthy seems to suggest, when the Devil himself has warned you not to enter.

Astrology Film Rating: ♇ (Pluto)

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