I saw Cormac McCarthy & Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor” on a flight recently. It had been really poorly reviewed, but I wanted to see a film where Cormac McCarthy had personally written the screenplay, rather than written a screenplay-length book (No Country for Old Men) for the purpose of being immediately turned into a screenplay by the Coen Brothers.
Anyway, most of the reviewers are wrong. However, I ABSOLUTELY don’t recommend it because it’s a hateful, nihilistic film. It is nothing other than a subtraction from the good of the world and you’ll be less of a person for having viewed it.
BUT - it is a well made film. Where The Coens’ NCFOM meanders on its way to hell, The Counselor is a bullet train. It’s a faster ride, on rails, to the same shithole Cormac McCarthy, a brilliant man who paints exclusively in black these days, wants you to die in. The script, filled with proper soliloquies, is more like a play than a film, which surely turned some morons off, but against Ridley Scott’s tableaux - and this is his best work since Gladiator - it is striking and aesthetic harmony is indeed achieved.
Regardless, fuck No Country for Old Men and The Counselor and The Coens and Ridley Scott, and most especially Cormac McCarthy. It isn’t enough for me that they’re all wildly, preternaturally skilled in their chosen disciplines. I just don’t understand why an artist would want to spend their time and talents in a world like that. No nuance, no possibilities, just hate and fear and constriction. I reject it!
Clearly this is me talking around the edges of my own personal manifesto(s), and I’m not “correct” in what I’m talking about here. It’s just how I feel and I wanted particularly to tell every reviewer who lauded NCFOM and slammed The Counselor to please SPARE ME as, seen from space, they’re remarkable similar. The only significant difference is that The Counselor doesn’t have a Tommy Lee Jones character roaming around saying, “Well geez, this sucks.” Perhaps that makes it the more compassionate film as it has led me to become that character and write this ridiculous post.