Visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott brings together Academy-Award winners (couple) Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz in his latest gripping drama thriller “The Counselor” along with Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz.
Bardem and Cruz have through the years proven themselves to be versatile actors playing a variety of compelling characters, in “The Counselor,” the award winning couple is at it again playing enticing characters never seen before on screen. Penned by Cormac McCarthy, “The Counselor” follows the life of a respected lawyer who is tempted to enter a murky and dangerous world to make some quick cash but had led him in an inexorable path to disaster. Although he receives warnings about the potential dangers of getting involved, The Counselor just couldn’t be swayed.
Bardem who has won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his chilling portrayal of a sociopath killer in “No Country for Old Men” which McCarthy also wrote is once again back in McCarthy’s envisioned world in “The Counselor” as Reiner. Bardem as Reiner is a larger-than-life nightclub owner who brings The Counselor (Fassbender) into the shady deal of quickly amassing large amount of money. Reiner straddles two worlds: the extravagant and decadent realm of a nightclub owner, and the brutal, lawless and merciless criminal underworld that is rapidly closing in on The Counselor, and on Reiner. Reiner appears to possess special insight into The Counselor’s increasingly dire circumstances, but he’s just as much a potential victim of a life he little understands.
Bardem found McCarthy’s script for “The Counselor” both intriguing and powerful, and relished being back in McCarthy terrain again. Says the actor: “It’s rare to find material where lengthy scenes of dialogue can evoke such powerful images. I was immediately hooked. I knew that for an actor this dialogue was a gift.”
As The Counselor finds a way out of this dangerous depth, an unplanned series of events lead to dead ends for both him and his fiancée, Laura (Penélope Cruz). Cruz, an Academy-Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” plays the vulnerable Laura in the movie.
Cruz and Fassbender’s first scene together, which opens the film, conveys the depth of their feelings for one another, through an intimacy rarely depicted on screen. “There is spectacular heat in the characters’ relationship, and we experience that right away in that opening scene,” says Scott. “It’s the kind of intimacy that goes from zero to sixty in no time at all.”
Adds McCarthy: “I don’t know when was the last time I saw a film where two people I love, made love. It’s apparently a thing of the past. So I thought I would try and bring that back. The opening scene is graphic, and the two characters speak like adults.” But their joyous engagement is marred by the dangerous world of which The Counselor has become a part. Laura is beautiful and naïve; she sees the best in everybody. Her intelligence and foresight – and her love for The Counselor – are no match for his descent into the rabbit hole, and they both face tragic consequences if the deal he has made with unseen, powerful forces, goes south. “Laura is what he prizes most,” says McCarthy. “What happens to them is unspeakable.”
If there’s an innocent in this story, then it is Laura, a beautiful woman with whom The Counselor, says Fassbender, “has fallen profoundly in love.”