"The extinction of reality is a concept no resignation can encompass," longtime cartel member Jefe (Rubén Blades) matter-of-factly tells the Counselor (Michael Fassbender), his poetic words filled with chilling portent. In Jefe's unsavory, potentially treacherous career, he has seen plenty of people facing certain doom, and the Counselor is the latest pawn who has gotten mixed up with the wrong people and is currently facing the bitter music. The screenwriting debut of celebrated author Cormac McCarthy (whose novels have already seen successful film adaptations with 2007's "No Country for Old Men" and 2009's "The Road"), "The Counselor" has been understandably difficult to market, its sordid, intricately snarled premise not so simple to boil down into a 30-second television ad or even a two-and-a-half-minute theatrical trailer. It will be up to director Ridley Scott (2012's "Prometheus") and his starry A-list cast, then, to draw viewers in. What they'll find is a bold, scrupulously devised, rivetingly unpredictable thriller, as savagely provocative as an operatic Shakespearean tragedy and as hair-raising as a particularly effective horror picture.
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