The Counselor

The Counselor ★★★½

Ridiculously OTT misogyny: can't remember what decade produced the last artwork allowing me to watch/read men sitting around musing about what "women" (every last one of them) want or crave, not to mention predatory Cameron Diaz tattooed with a cheetah's spots (!). McCarthy's Philosophical Agenda is pretty basic (life is terrible and meaningless, women are whores and succubi) and Texas macho (A Man Defines Himself By How He Accepts Death). All that said, this is pretty compelling: two hours of didactic dialogues, more or less expertly delivered (Diaz does a fine job by her standards, which is to say she doesn't fuck it up), and it's a real pleasure to watch Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt et al. feel their way through some unusual rhythms. Sometimes snortingly funny: e.g. not just Pitt suggesting that Michael Fassbender get familiar with his new money-less lifestyle by leaving his upper-class house for breakfast at a Best Western-lite atrium, but then asking for hemlock from a baffled waitress used to family-friendly courtesy. For those not interested in McCarthy's worldview (hiiiiii), the screenplay's strategic elisions maintain interest, even/especially when scenes pose plot questions that never get straight answers. It's funny that Prometheus (allegedly) had to exist and succeed so that this movie could be made as a thank you to Ridley Scott (who should stop undercranking action scenes already), but whatever it takes.

("Blog band" is a term presumably no longer in currency, but the general life cycle — dizzying escalation from obscurity to totemic ubiquity spiraling into backlash at the overkill within 10 days — probably now applies to the increasingly obscure Hollywood film maudit. This went from unanticipated dumping-ground title to Talking Point Must-See in under a week, with much more speed and consensus than Elizabethtown or Speed Racer. No complaints.

P.S. Thought experiment: imagine this as a Straub/Huillet movie.)

[Supplementarily, I guess, there's also this.]