We saw The Councilor yesterday. It was, for me, incomprehensible much of the time, nihilistic, unrealistic, and gorgeous.
Not incomprehensible in that I didn’t know what was happening on the screen or who was doing what, but incomprehensible in that I didn’t know why. I finally gave up and decided that much of what happened was just there to look good. I could have lived with the incomprehensibleness, but the nihilism finally got me. The script was by Cormac McCarthy, so I should have expected the cynicism but I didn’t and it pretty much blindsided me.
Much of The Councilor – it is hard to tell how much, much of the time – supposedly takes place in and around El Paso Texas. I was stationed in El Paso and I recognized the landscape but it was different from any El Paso that I knew or, I am sure, even exists.
This movie El Paso is an El Paso where everybody calls a lawyer, Counselor, and the lawyer, a sometimes court appointed defense-council, drives a Bentley; this is an El Paso where the bad guy, played by Cameron Diaz, has pet cheetahs and lives in a staggeringly stunning house – and, by the way, has the most gorgeous, silver, fingernails I have ever seen on a human being and a cheetah pattern tattoo on her back and shoulder – this is an El Paso where people drive Ferraris and nobody seems to notice.
The El Paso that I knew was a dry desert town where the military was a major employer and was so out-of-the-way that it bragged about being the headquarters of one Fortune 500 company. The El Paso I knew is the in the excellent TV program The Bridge. The Bridge El Paso is a place where people drive two-year old SUVs and pickup trucks, where people would stop and gawk at a Ferrari.
The irony here is that The Bridge is shot mostly in L.A. County – it is a landscape that Michele and I know as very Californian – but feels very El Paso-ish.
The second irony is that I walked out of The Councilor feeling assaulted, needlessly confused, and a little angry but I am still thinking about it the next day. Michele and I are still googling reviews and discussions. I wanted to see it because I like Ridley Scott as a director, I don’t always like his movies – although I usually do – but I always love the pictures he puts on the screen. In the end, the movie is alot like Cameron Diaz’s character, Malkina, unbelievable, breathtaking, and more memorable than she should be.