As a vision of evil The Counselor is completely persuasive. Its depiction of soullessness as eerily sumptuous, even sickly erotic, of moral incoherence as the driving force behind civilization, makes it almost Lovecraftian. With its relentless, seductive insistence on horror as the soul of the plot, it may be the first really postmodern horror film. By going all the way into the nihilistic perspective of a godless universe, it achieves what Coppola failed so spectacularly to do with Apocalypse Now, and takes us all the way into the American heart of darkness.
And—surprise, surprise—it’s in Mexico
The diamond dealer gives a long, difficult to decipher speech about how every country that has driven out the Jews has “suffered the same fate.” He makes the bold claim that there is no culture (since the Greeks) besides the Semitic culture, and that the heart of a culture is found in the nature of its hero. Western culture, while driving out the Jews, has adopted the Man of God, Christ, “the prophet-penitent,” as its hero, even though the God in question is that of Jewish culture. “How do you steal a God?” he ponders. The counselor offers no answer. The dealer winds up his speech by saying that “The Jew beholds his tormentor in the vestments of his own ancient culture.”
The insinuation of this speech, as far as I could tell, is similar to something the poet William Blake wrote, that when a nation rejects the Jews but adopts the Jewish faith, it becomes subject to “Jewish rule.” Christians worship the same God as the Jews, and yet the Jewish God is temperamentally opposed to the Christian virtue of mercy and forgiveness. Jehovah is a wrathful, avenging deity who smites anyone who displeases Him (and even some who don’t, as Job can testify). The Jews appeased Jehovah by offering up blood sacrifices, and the film’s heart of darkness (Mexico, the barbaric land outside the walls of the Empire) is a killing field where young women are tortured and murdered for the entertainment of cosmically depraved overlords—as blood sacrifices to appease monstrous appetites.
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