The anticipation surrounding "The Counselor," has been cooking for almost two years—the project started as a screenplay by novelist and screenwriter savant Cormac McCarthy sold in January 2012—because it has everything going for it. At least, everything that "No Country for Old Men," had and that includes: the Cormac McCarthy story and Director Ridley Scott. Also the star of NCFOM Javier Bardem, this time paired with other stars including Penélope Cruz, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez and Michael Fassbender. The movie was shot in London in summer of 2012 though it will open in the U.S. first this weekend. (There was a special screening in London in mid-October, but “The Counselor” will not get to UK theaters until mid-November.)
The production of the movie did not lack drama either. The most tragic was the suicide of Ridley Scott’s younger brother Tony who jumped off a bridge in California last year and interrupted the filmmaking for a time. More happily, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem had a second child in July, a daughter, Luna. (You can piece together on the web that Cruz and Bardem met in 2007 when they played husband and wife on the set of Woody Allen’s "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"—she was great as the crazy beautiful wife—and married in 2010. The couple’s son Leo was born in LA in 2011 and their daughter in Madrid, Cruz’s hometown.
Somewhere in the southwestern United States a respectable attorney played by Michael Fassbender thinks he can dabble in the drug trade without getting down into the bloody, muddy low road, but realizes too late that he is in way over his head. There are red flags along the way: Brad Pitt, in a role he has played before—most recently with the late James Gandofilini in “Killing Them Softly”—seems to know way more than he’s saying. Javier Bardem has never looked scarier or more sinister and Cameron Diaz is seductive as ever, even as the carnage she triggers overshadows the plot for the beginning. Cruz plays the un-benign girlfriend of the slow-witted and anxiety-ridden attorney.
Will “The Counselor” be a hit? How can it miss? Everyone involved has been down this road before and has the Oscars to show for it. The only obstacle this movie has to overcome is living up to its predecessors’ success.