In the view of Nick “Action Man” Clement, Anton Corbijn‘s The American, Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and David Fincher‘s Se7en are spiritual brethren of Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor.
“Much like in The American, Scott and screenwriter Cormac McCarthy smartly subvert the audiences’ preconceived genre expectations: the chase has to be here, it needs to end there, this character needs to be killed by that character, etc. And as in Peckinpah’s down and dirty Garcia, the narrative in The Counselor comes to a rational (however disturbing and bleak) conclusion that has to be considered as ‘audience-unfriendly’ or ‘morally reprehensible.’ [But] it’s not the job of cinema or of filmmakers to only tell stories about the morally just and dignified.
“Part of the kinky kick of a movie like The Counselor is getting to spend time with venal, nasty people, far removed from the norm, and then getting a chance to watch their lives unravel. Because the cast is peppered with sexy faces and familiar names and because the trailer has been cut to emphasize the three or four scenes of violence/action, audiences are not going to be prepared for what’s in store. It’s The American or The Grey or Haywire or Killing them Softly or Drive all over again — auteur-driven films masquerading as general audience pleasers.
“I love it when Hollywood has the guts to turn out stuff that’s challenging and rewarding, and there’s something to be said for 20th Century Fox letting Scott and McCarthy get away with a finish that nearly matches the gut-wrenching climax of Fincher’s immortal Seven.”