El Paso and El Paso

El Paso-

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.

El Paso-

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.

El Paso-

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.

Still from The Counsellor, the new film from director Ridley Scott

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