What is the hidden meaning of the movie “The Counselor”. The American film The Counselor (2013) is often criticized for not seeing what they expect to see in it: a solid gangster drama or a cool action movie. Therefore, director Ridley Scott’s film story about the drug mafia and legal intrigues is labeled a “misunderstanding film.” In fact, the work written by Cormac McCarthy has a special genre – a philosophical thriller. And what is happening on the screen must be perceived taking into account the distinctive feature of the film – metaphor. Then the moral background of the story about the lawyer Counselor, who did not advise anyone on anything and did not heed the advice of others, becomes obvious.
The main idea of the film is almost verbatim voiced by two characters: the drug dealer Reiner and his accomplice Westray. In conversations with the Counselor, they warn the Texan stranger-cleaner about the danger of interfering in the dirty affairs of the Mexican cartel. Mafia fan of poetry Machado utters a tirade about the paths chosen by man and the inevitability of retribution. And the local “fixer” pathetically declares: “You can’t live in this world and not be a part of it.” In philosophical statements and in half-riddle dialogues, Ruth, the influential client of the lawyer, and the crafty old Jew-jeweler, and the main gangster bastard Malkin, speak about the same.
If you strictly follow the plot outline, then it seems that the authors drive two hours into the head of American inhabitants: “Latinos are terrible, and Russian villains are dangerous.” The film is replete with well-executed acts of violence, unprecedented “wetness”, sex scenes with sharp unmotivated deviations, descriptions of disgusting methods of murder. But the viewer, who understands the secondary nature of the plot and sees the shift in narrative accents, discovers the deep drama of the film. On the screen is a modern interpretation of the old and well-known wisdom: “It is impossible to get into the mud and remain in white at the same time.”
The film mixes Christian canons about the inevitability of retribution and the stoic ideas of antiquity about the fearless acceptance of one’s fate. There is a sort of chip of “universal understatement” in the plot. The entire timing is permeated with the concepts of “product”, “deal”, “business”, “these people” and so on. At the same time, there is little specifics about the scam itself, in which the lawman from Texas is involved. In the absence of the main character’s name – also a certain author’s intent. The nameless lawyer is called the Counsellor. The image of the drug lord, Chef, is also abstract. Thus, the viewer is shown that the essence of the “case” is not important, and anyone can be in the place of the participants. Only the “psychology” of the situation matters: the consequences, and how a person will perceive them.
The plot of the story is very simple. The lawyer, driven by stupidity multiplied by greed, decides not to limit himself to interest for loyal service to the mafia. He gets into the business. The drug business will help the Counselor pay off his debts and provide himself and the luxurious Spanish beauty Laura for a long time. The self-confident American is not at all afraid that he has fallen into the alien environment of the cult of Santa Muerte and into the realm of unpredictable lawlessness. A fatal mistake for him turns out to be what is considered a virtue in Western ethics – the release of his son Ruth.
The very first operation of the cartel with the participation of the Advisor ends in a catastrophic failure. While transporting the “goods” from Mexico to the US, the truck disappeared. The mafia loses three barrels of $20 million worth of cocaine hidden in them. According to gangster laws, all those involved should be punished – cruel and immediate, without any proceedings or pity. Reiner is dead, Westray is dead, Laura is kidnapped. An unlucky drug dealer rushes about in search of his beloved. The chief claims to know nothing about her. And he gives the Councilor cynical advice – to live with the choice that he made. The bandit seems to be Seneca, saying that fate leads only those who agree – those who disagree, she drags.
A barely alive lawyer returns to Mexico. On the threshold of the hotel room, an envelope with the Spanish inscription Hola is waiting for him. This is a CD with “hello” from the mafia in the form of a snuff video with Laura. The adviser suffers a final collapse – he not only lost his earnings, but also lost everything that was in his life. As an illustration of the well-known “what we have – we do not store …” – a screaming theatrical bed scene at the beginning of the film. The enamored Counselor indulges in sensual games with the bride in snow-white sheets. Crimson white curtains on the window pleasantly hide the gloomy desert landscape and the highway, along which a motorcyclist rushes at insane speed. A small personal paradise of the protagonist is shown, to which he aspires. But the dreams contrast with the harsh realities of the outside world. The inevitability of retribution for the newfound “happiness” is confirmed by the terrible scene of the death of a biker named the Green Hornet, which is shown in the episode of the theft of a drug truck.
The Counselor is a crime parable about a successful and prosperous, but greedy Counselor, who was blinded, corrupted and eventually destroyed by his greed. Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott show the painful process of “understanding” that comes to a person too late. It turns out to be sorrow, which is immeasurable and priceless.