That’s counselor as in lawyer, not a guidance counselor or anything like that. The counselor in question is played by Michael Fassbender of Prometheus, and the poor guy doesn’t even get an actual name. All his friends and acquaintances call him counselor, and his fiancée, Laura, (Penélope Cruz, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) doesn’t ever call him anything as far as the audience gets to hear.
That’s counselor as in lawyer, not a guidance counselor or anything like that. The counselor in question is played by Michael Fassbender of Prometheus, and the poor guy doesn’t even get an actual name. All his friends and acquaintances call him counselor, and his fiancée, Laura, (Penélope Cruz, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) doesn’t ever call him anything as far as the audience gets to hear. But his bad luck doesn’t stop there; despite living in a plush apartment and buying Laura an extremely expensive diamond ring, he’s got money problems. The diamond industry has a lot to answer for, the way they make people feel so pressured to buy rings they can’t really afford.
Anyway, for some reason the counselor decides that the best way out of these money troubles is to get in on a business venture one of his clients is putting together. I think he’s a client, anyway. His name is Reiner, and he’s played by Javier Bardem of Skyfall. No one else in the movie ever gets more than one name, so maybe they were rationing them. Of course, it was written by Cormac McCarthy, who often doesn’t name the characters in his books, so it might just be habit.
Said business venture is illegal, of course, and involves lots of drugs — 20 million dollars’ worth, being smuggled from Mexico to Chicago in a septic truck, because who in their right mind is going to search one of those too carefully? For a supposedly master criminal, though, Reiner is remarkably naïve and trusting , because he has no idea that his girlfriend, Malkina (Cameron Diaz, The Green Hornet), is scheming to get the $20 million for herself.
Also involved — though I have to admit I’m not sure exactly how — is Westray, played by Brad Pitt of World War Z. And then there’s the Green Hornet, though he’s nothing to do with the Green Hornet mentioned above. This guy is played by Richard Cabral, who’s credited as “Young Biker”, but is called the Green Hornet, because of the black and green outfit he wears while racing around on his motorcycle at 206 miles per hour. That’s what the police clocked him at, anyway. While Malkina schemes, the counselor tries to do the Green Hornet’s mother a favor (the mother, played by Rosie Perez, is a client, currently in prison), and inadvertently manages to help Malkina out.
It starts out making a lot less sense than it seems here, as they move from one group of characters to the next and don’t initially explain how they all connect. This can work very well (Pulp Fiction), but can also be disastrous, and I’m afraid it was much more the latter here. By the time they started connecting things up, it was too late — I didn’t particularly care about any of the characters or the storylines. Also, someone involved in the creation of this movie was a little too fascinated by decapitation. That was unpleasant.
The whole movie is unpleasant, and not all of it was intentional, unfortunately, so two and three-quarters out of five is the best I can do. Much of that is just because I like Michael Fassbender and he gets to grin in this movie, which I’d never seen him do before. Poor Penélope Cruz doesn’t get to have much of a personality, though she does what she can, and Malkina is more a collection of psychoses than a character. But at least we do get to find out what becomes of Reiner’s pet cheetahs at the end. I liked them the best, I think.