In the refurbished nightclub the camera shifts focus from the Counselor to a large b/w photo of actor Steve McQueen in a sailor's uniform. It's a still from The Sand Pebbles (1966). McQueen shot Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway (1972) in El Paso, Texas where this scene of The Counselor (2013) is set and died nearby in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on November 7, 1980 after a risky and unsuccessful cancer surgery. Except from the still photo there is also a verbal reference to McQueen himself: He remarked once on his lifelong love of motor racing: "Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting." Screenwriter Cormac McCarthy adapted McQueen's well-known quote into the following line of dialogue: "Life is being in bed with you. Everything else is just waiting."
When Malkina retrieves the user name and password to Westray's laptop from the blonde woman, she remarks that the password is "five digits", as shown on the hand written note. When Westray's laptop is stolen on the street, Malkina enters an eight character password.
When the Counselor is in Amsterdam, the diamond dealer tells him an Asscher cut diamond is a "modern version of the old mine cut." In fact, old mine cuts are early versions of round brilliants (and sometimes look like modern cushions). An Asscher, by contrast, is a step cut, sometimes called a square emerald cut.
What are the differences between the Theatrical Version and the Unrated Extended Version?
The 'Unrated Extended Cut' is 20 minutes longer than the 'Theatrical Cut' (117 min.) and runs nearly 138 minutes. It features new scenes, extended scenes and a little alternative footage. Some scenes are extended substantially, for example the philosophical dialogue between the Counselor and the Diamond Dealer and between the Counselor and the Cartel Leader. In this version the Diamond Dealer is characterized as a Sephardic Jew from Spain with a tragic past involving a deceased woman. The Cartel Leader's extended monologue gains nearly apocalyptic qualities. The sex scene at the beginning is longer and contains stronger sexual activity from Laura. The sexually ambiguous relationship between Laura and Malkina is explored deeper in an additional scene. Reiner tells more anecdotes about his former girlfriends, friends and what he 'learned' about women. The dialogue scenes with Westray contain more details about the unpredictable dangers of the drug trade. The notorious death scene of Westray is extended and more graphic. The 'Unrated Extended Cut' contains in general more sexual references, violence and profanity than the R-rated 'Theatrical Cut'. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.