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Tuesday, November 12, 2013


The Counselor Poster
The first scene shows a biker speeding and we see the road sign Juarez. El Paso is 2 1/2 miles away. None of the reviewers have noticed this resonance, where now thousands of young girls and women's bodies have been found in the surrounding desert. Very young girls come from villages all over Mexico to work in the factories of Juarez and then disappear. Thousands of their unidentified bodies are found decomposed in the desert. It is guessed that many are sold into sex slavery and transported across the border to the US and many are used in Snuff Films while others - well - who knows what terrible lives they lead if alive. All this is conveyed in less than a minute before the scene changes.

But you have to have the political consciousness to know the horror of the dead girls and women of Juarez and their connection to the drug cartel and capitalism, if you are to pick up on the truth of this image of the road sign.

The following scene shows illusion curtains billowing in the breeze as the camera moves to two bodies under the sheets moving slowly against each other, waking up and talking lovingly, intimately to each other. The resonances are multiple. 

Louise Bourgeois - Hamlet and Ophelia

Robert Mapplethorpe


Christo - Wrapped Trees

Rodin The Kiss Wrapped in 1 Mile of Twine by Cornelia Parker

In her review Manohla Dargis of The New York Times remarked on the resonance with Egyptian Mummies
Full circle from JUAREZ to DEATH
We are abruptly brought under the sheets to be right inside with them watching and unnoticed. 
This is Freud's PRIMAL SCENE. 
We watch two people obviously intimate and in love experiencing erotic sex without pornographic details, and filmed without a hint of any cliches. We see the difference between performed sex and sex experienced in the eroticism of love. 

The following scenes have been detailed at wiki and in various reviews, most of which say it is a movie about a drug deal gone bad, highlighting individual performances, and the usual complaint about McCarthy's dialogue which they cannot understand. 

The dialogue functions as the chorus in a Greek play - or Shakespeare -  spoken by individuals in prophetic language  that resonates into the future and the past in precession. This is the essence of non-linearity, non progression, non historical but in going forward and backward, bathing the past and the future in clairvoyant light, we are exposed to Nietzche's The Eternal Return and Zarathustra's terrible recognition of it, the spiraling circularity of time.

The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion. - Walter Benjamin: Art In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

This film was made for the educationally literate adult with a political consciousness to match McCarthy's when it can. Another work of art by McCarthy on the evil of the Western World; the greed and evil of the North American viciousness and the devastation of capitalism lying at the heart of the world and the planet and this film. The doom we all face that is irreversible.

Critique is concerned with the truth content of a work of art, the commentary with its subject matter. The relationship between the two is determined by that basic law of literature according to which the work's truth content is the more relevant the more inconspicuously and intimately it is bound up with its subject matter. Walter Benjamin:Illuminations p.4

The counselor goes to Amsterdam to choose a diamond for an engagement ring for Laura. He does not go to a Tiffany's, with or without her, to buy the ring retail. He goes to Amsterdam, the center of the DeBeers Diamond Cartel, to a connoisseur of fine diamonds where he can peruse numbers of stones unset to make his choice guided by an expert. DeBeers is the monopolistic cartel of all the diamonds in the world, overseeing their mining to their wholesale distribution and marketing. The aura of a fine diamond to be given to a woman carries the "floating sign" of forever love, seduction, wealth, cherishing, the romantic dream DeBeers has engraved on every woman's heart. The DeBeers diamond cartel is  vicious and total, the most successful and entrenched and the oldest. Slaves who labor in the mud, often drowning in it when they slip, subjecting themselves to ruthless enemas at the end of each working day and invasive inspections, provide women with these glorious gems of forever love. The counselor is not even aware of this. He is a criminal lawyer in El Paso who springs on technicalities, the drug cartel clients sent to him for lucrative fees. 

The dirty secret of the drug cartel is that it is an incredible, huge industry for employment. The drivers, the ones who restore the truck containing the cocaine, the ones who clean the blood out of it from the shooting, the businesses that enable it, the bars and night clubs that wash the money, employing millions all over South America to deliver the drugs to the US where the prices are high and the demand is great. The cartel is so entrenched and irreversible that no one wants to imagine what would happen were it to collapse. No, it must continue.

In Philadelphia if you want an excellent criminal lawyer you go to one who works for the Mafia. One who knows the judges, one who takes you before a Mafia judge. All is complicity not justice. 

The Law is in the Order of Production. The Law of the drug cartel is in the Symbolic Order: Vengence. When the complications of the drug deal the counselor is entering into for the first time go sour, his accomplices are murdered, Laura is kidnapped in Juarez. If you know Juarez and its horrors you know what will happen to her to cement the counselor in his place in the hierarchy of the cartel. And we see her dead body dumped into a refuse heap by a machine. He has been warned but Cassandra and Tiresias are never listened to. They are doomed to be ignored, these prophets of the future, to which Cormac McCarthy belongs.

The counselor goes to cultured and aesthetically sophisticated men - a lawyer and a judge? - who live surrounded by exquisite art which never guarantees ethical integrity as we know from the Nazis. They also are complicit professionally with the cartel in Juarez and Texas. They cannot help and he is told by the judge that his choices were made long ago and the present consequences are unfolding according to fate and destiny. 

The bartender who wakes him tells him that without love there is nothing. He enters a protest being filmed of women and men holding posters of lost/dead girls and women, crying and chanting for some kind of  justice for their loved ones. The only justice being served is that of the drug/sex cartel criminals being sprung by expensive criminal lawyers. 

When you die your world no longer exists, he is told. In his room he will be given the CD of Laura's Snuff Film, and his world will no longer exist. 

Cameron Diaz is a marvel in this film. She identifies with her wild/tame pet cheetas, the upper lip of her mouth lifting in silent snarls, cutting her eyes in contempt at others, then saying she will go to Hong Kong. Taking the stolen money from the brutal high tech murder of Westray. Of her plans, "Diamonds, I think. They are small and transportable." We already know she knows much about their value when she has analyzed Laura's ring. And so the drug cartel money recirculates back into the diamond cartel inventory to complete the circle.

The Counselor is a film that is the world. As Paul Virilio says at the end of his Speed and Politics, "The world is run by thugs." 

The governments of the world are complicit with the cartels of the world and McCarthy has in yet another work of art shown us another facet of this and its consequences. All his work is of the same theme. It is irreversible and totalizing. 

And the rot of it all is greed - CAPITALISM. 

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