If it is excruciatingly obvious how little control the Counselor has over his own story, Malkina, Reiner's ostensible lover (ferociously played by Cameron Diaz), demonstrates what kind of nerve it takes to control one's fate in this savage world. Her fascination with large cats-she loves to sit in the desert and watch them chase down jackrabbits-shows that she is somehow of a different, more primitive order than the other, seemingly more civilized characters. And yet, because of this wild cunning, she alone seems to have a grip on her situation. Diaz gives a stunning, startling performance that makes everything else she's ever done seem small and paltry. Yes, she fucks the windshield of a Ferrari in a scene where Bardem's character describes her waxed vagina as "one of those catfish things. One of those bottom-feeders you see going up the side of the aquarium," but that's just a small detail that ends up as one brick in the monumental facade of one of the more gracefully wicked characters to grace the screen in years.