The Counselor

March 9, 2014

Note: I have seen the 20-odd-minute longer Extended Cut and not the Theatrical version. Also: More spoilers than usual. Not that it matters.  

vlcsnap-2014-03-09-17h26m25s151

The Counselor doesn’t care what you think of it.  It just doesn’t.  It’s an admirable quality in this instance, and doubly so when you consider the pedigree: First screenplay by Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy (who has entered the cinematic pantheon to some degree when his book No Country Old Men was adapted into a Best Picture winner), directed by Ridley Scott, supporting roles for Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz and a host of character actors to boot.  Despite all this, or maybe because of its gravitas-heavy position before a camera began to roll, it really just doesn’t give a damn what you think.  None of which is to say it’s a good movie, though it is certainly an interesting one, even in a somewhat limited “your mileage may vary” sort of way.  If you can handle (or, preferably, relish) the hard-bitten cynicism that dwarfs most modern noirs, this might be for you.  If you can handle long exchanges that probe the nature of existence to varying degrees of success, then it might be for you.  If you can appreciate that the McGuffin spends the entire film traveling in a septic truck – yes, the thing everyone wants is submerged in shit – then this might be the film for you. Read the rest of this entry »

Bastards (La Salauds)

December 2, 2013

bastards_01

Claire Denis is one of my favourite living filmmakers, and while I’ll readily admit she’s not for everyone, she’s developed a distinctive aesthetic and approach that, when in the right mood, can be absolutely enrapturing even when the subject material is queasy or downright repulsive.  In her latest film, Bastards, Denis makes the switch from film to digital with her trusted long-time cinematographer, which is appropriate given the film’s visual insistence on darkness.  It is also her angriest film, I feel, and it’s fascinating to watch her abstract humanistic approach take on something so utterly despicable and hopeless.   Read the rest of this entry »