Movie & Radio Crime Log: Hemingway, Counsellor & Air-Force

What are you doing this weekend — keeping warm, you say? Good, good. If Norse Gods and Sandra Bullock in the cold, vast bleakness of space doesn’t appeal, here’s a couple of crime thriller movies you may want to see instead.

Or not. Entirely your choice.

Jude Law stars as the eponymous Dom Hemingway in a caper movie – they really don’t make enough caper movies, these days – about a safe-cracker who comes out of prison to, yes, get what’s owed to him.

The reviews suggest it’s a bawdy, naughty, shouty little thing so you may not want to go see it with your dear old Mum. Law, sporting a fine handlebar moustache and dropping his ‘aitches, drank ten cans of coke a day to put on weight for it, apparently. Richard E Grant plays his sidekick Dickie.

The writer and director Richard Shepard was responsible for The Matador, easily Pierce Brosnan’s best non-Bond movie, so he’s got form for subverting our expectations of actors.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, let’s move on to the trailer.

The Counsellor may be worth seeing just for the curiousity value. It’s one of those movies that has polarized opinion. Some US critics thought it was dreadful while others likened it to the work of Mamet, Pinter and Tarantino.

The talent is impeccable, at least. The screenplay is the first by the novelist Cormac McCarthy – you know, No Country For Old Men and The Road – and he apparently makes little concession to the rules of screenplay writing.

The director is Ridley Scott and the cast includes Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem. Fassbender is a lawyer who gets involved in drug trafficking. As you may suspect from McCarthy’s involvement, The Counsellor — sorry, American friends, The Counselor – is not a barrel of laughs. Scott has described it as his first arthouse film. Audiences have accordingly stayed away.

Still, here’s the trailer:

I’d imagine much of the week’s media coverage is going to be dedicated to the big events of 1963. It’s all going to be Doctor Who this and JFK that.

They’re already ramping up. Air-Force One is a thriller about the events immediately after the assassination of Kennedy on 22 November, 1963.

Martin Jarvis – ah, we love Martin, don’t we? – directs the play on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow afternoon about the surprising events that occurred at the mortuary, and on Air-Force One, when Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson insisted that his ‘swearing in’ took place before take-off.

Kennedy’s widow Jackie was there, apparently, still covered in her husband’s blood. There doesn’t seem very much more that can by hypothesized about the assassination 50 years on, but this sounds a claustrophobic little thriller, based on Federal, classified and academic research, diaries and recollections.

Stacy Keach – Mike Hammer! – stars as Lyndon B. Johnson. That’s BBC Radio 4 tomorrow afternoon at 2.30pm.

No, of course there isn’t a trailer –  it’s radio. Do pay attention.

2 thoughts on “Movie & Radio Crime Log: Hemingway, Counsellor & Air-Force

  1. Jim Ford

    As you suggest many of the adverse comments about The Counsellor have been about Cormac McCarthy’s script, and in particular the unconvincing dialogue. Trying to think of other notable examples of great prose stylists who have failed to cut the mustard in the (very different) screenwriting discipline.

  2. Crime Thriller Fella Post author

    Hi Jim, thanks for commenting. Oddly, my first thought was Martin Amis – Saturn 5! I guess there are modern novelists who can do both – Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers,Larry McMurtry, Nick Hornby — but it’s the genre writers, I think, who adapt the best.
    And am I right in thinking that the Coen Brothers lifted the end monologue by Tommy Lee Jones straight from McCarthy’s novel for No Country For Old Men? It shows you can break the rules if you know what you’re doing.


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