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The Counsellor


Year: 2013 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Ridley Scott 
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz  

The merging of Cormac McCarthy's uncompromisingly dark inks with the visual nous of master craftsman Ridley Scott was always going to yield fascinating results, and The Counsellor is certainly difficult to forget. McCarthy's characteristically blunt style directly tranlates onto the big screen, manifesting itself in a universe laden with doomed portents, bloody violence, and a cruelly candid exploration into the darkness of man's desires.

Michael Fassbender stars as the titular Counsellor, a lawyer situated on the Mexico / Texas border who finds himself gradually pulled into the dark underworld of the drug trafficking business. At first simply acting out of love for his fiance Laura (Penelope Cruz), the Counsellor finds his morality muddied after a meeting with the corrupt Reiner (Javier Bardem, sporting a snappy hairpiece). As the Counsellor's game escalates and a host of nasty new players arrive on the scene including a particularly bloodthirsty Mexican cartel greed and pride begin to drive his choices and actions, with fatal consequences.

Make no mistake: this is not a film for the faint of heart. The meaty passages of dialogue are sharp enough in themselves, but when The Counsellor gearshifts into moments of explosive violence, it truly holds no quarter. As a treatise on the nature of greed and the fatal flaws of mankind, this proves to be a bleak and provocative watch, and although this makes it a film which is tough to truly love, it nevertheless remains essential viewing.

Michael Perry

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Screenings of this film:

2013/2014 Spring Term (digital)