THE COUNSELOR is one of those movies that awaits discovery by fans of dark crime movies. Cormac McCarthy’s first spec script, it’s the story of The Counselor, one of those big bucks lawyers who thinks that since he knows his way around the law he can handle anything. He almost casually becomes involved in a drug deal. That’s all I want to talk about here in terms of the plot.
I’m not going to spoil the scene, because even with the big SPOILER ALERT sign over there, I wouldn’t want to deprive anyone from experiencing one of the most horrible deaths I can imagine.
Maybe I’m unimaginative, but strangulation has never been one of my biggest fears. After a diet of action and crime flicks and a few karate classes decades ago, I, like many men, feel I could handle myself in a fight. This is a delusion, I’d cry if a little kid slapped my cheek, but it gets me through the day. Brad Pitt’s character, Westray, describes a weapon of the Mexican drug cartels, the bolito…
I’ll stop there.
I recommend THE COUNSELOR. It’s one of the most realistic depictions of such a situation because it is so quiet about it. Westray calmly explains to the Counselor how to get involved with the drug deal; when it goes bad, Westray then, calmly, explains that the Counselor is now fucked and should take off and try to hide, somewhere, because he is going to be killed for what he’s done, or what the cartel THINKS he’s done.
Many movies have what I think of as The Scene That Got The Movie Made, the scene that snagged the imagination of the writer or director. I suspect the scene everyone was giddy about while making this was the one of Cameron Diaz and the windshield, but it’s a terrible scene, a complete misfire. Many movies also have what I think of as The Scene No One Predicted Would Make This A Memorable Movie. I think the scene of one of the characters being killed with the bolito is why I’ll remember THE COUNSELOR, because being conscious and knowing with 100% certainty that you’re about to die is such a horrible way to go.