The Counselor

The Counselor
Credits: Self

Originally published on 16/11/21 on Letterboxd

On entanglements.

I've never been particularly captivated by Scott's skill as a formalist but his dour, unfeeling Late Style perfectly complements McCarthy's script here. There are no flourishes, no beauty, no tricks up anyone's sleeve. Acts of violence are telegraphed far in advance but that doesn't make them any less horrifying. Structurally, the fact that it luxuriates in the depravity of its characters for almost the entirety of its runtime almost renders it feeling incomplete, but I suppose that's the point, isn't it? There isn't supposed to be anything satisfying about watching excess eat itself alive, nor is there anything satisfying about watching people get what they deserve in the most hideous ways possible- it's all coincidental.

Operates on a similar wavelength as Southland Tales in that it's an ever-expanding mess of sensations that collapses into an unknowable void. The key difference, though, is that Kelly's film suggests that the individual has a choice in becoming subsumed by forces larger than themselves. Here, there is no choice- it was bound to happen.