A darker than dark stylish tale of drug cartel brutality with A-list stars.

If Pulitzer prize winning author Cormac McCarthy wrote it, you know it’s bleak. His apocalyptic “The Road” was so utterly depressing , many walked out. They couldn’t take it, costing Viggo Mortensen an Oscar nomination. Then there was the Oscar winning “No Country For Old Men”, scoring an Academy award for Javier Bardem , as the psychopathic killer. “The Counselor” reunites McCarthy with Bardem, who adds to the list of his bad-hair flicks. This time it’s all spiked out. In “Skyfall” it was garishly blonde and the worst of all was the ‘do in his Oscar-winning role.

The amazing Michael Fassbender gives his second award-worthy role in as many weeks, following the limited release of the must-see and already Gotham Indie award-nominated “12 Years A Slave”. This week, he’s a nameless lawyer who looks to make a quick blowload (excuse the pun) of money through the drug trade, despite warnings from high-fashioned Bardem and Brad Pitt. You know from the get-go, this can’t end well. Which is an understatement.

The movie begins with the counselor in bed , pleasuring Penelope Cruz (who is Bardem’s real-life wife”. This is one of the few films where Fassbender doesn’t flaunt his manhood.

While director Ridley Scott (“Alien”, “Gladiator” and “Blackhawk Down) doesn’t flinch from the drug trade brutality (this is an uberly violent film), he throws in some comic relief, mostly thanks to the bad-haired but again very stylized and gold-toothed Cameron Diaz, who looks like a younger version of Ellen Barkin. She plays the Cruella DeVille of drug dealers. I promise, you will never ever hear the word “catfish” again without immediately flashing back to her doing a commando split , humping a car windshield with Bardem’s mouth open in amazed horror. Miley Cyrus could take lessons from Diaz!!!!

The cast includes , in tiny roles, a much-missed Rosie Perez, an equally missed Rueben Blades, Goran Visnjic and John Leguizamo.

This is one downer of a film. You know early on how it ends. You just don’t know how. It’s not a movie you “enjoy”. It’s more a “trip”. A bad trip. It’s major flaw, besides a total lack of character development: it’s too too long at just under 2 hours.

I counsel an after-movie drink for “The Counselor”.