Sicario Review


In the Mix
Director - Denis Villeneuve, Writer - Taylor Sheridan, Cast - Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal

The Skinny in 10 words
"Who? What? Why? Drug wars on the US/Mexican border"

The Quote
"Nothing will make sense to your American ears, and you will doubt everything we do"

The Beef
You should know something going into this movie; this is not a comfortable film to watch and your date probably won't like it... but you will.

In fact, the movie's beauty and its art form is in its ability to make the viewer decidedly uncomfortable throughout the movie's 121 minutes.

When I tell you the director behind this also directed Prisoners (Villeneuve) this will come as no great surprise upon viewing. Sicario is a brilliant mix of Prisoners meets Training Day (Fuqua) in the setting of the drug cartels. You can see no shortage of this genre of late from the award winning documentary Cartel Land to the new Netflix "everyone's talking about" Narcos and in Sicario you have a condensed and boiled down version of the old themes you think you know.

The story in short is this; Female FBI agent at the top of her game, Kate Macer (Blunt) is recruited by Matt Graver (Brolin) to an undisclosed government agency to help fight the war on drugs between the US/Mexico border. The great vehicle for this movie is uncertainty and deception. Are we the viewers being deceived or is our kick ass take-no-shit idealist Emily Blunt being led into something less than legal? These questions are there from the off and as the movie seriously gains momentum, more questions are raised than are answered.

This movie is brutal and violent and will be too much for some people and others will just be plain indifferent to this snapshot of a fictionalised take on a real world story thats been used many times in movies over the years.

The acting is what makes this film standout, Emily Blunt will have praise heaped upon her and rightly so for what could have been the weakest part of the movie. She pulls it off with both barrels and a character that has a soul and the audience can identify to.

Wait!!! I've not even come to the star of the show yet, Benecio "Hand me the keys you cock sucker" Del Toro,  (Usual Suspects anyone? no? oh behave) what a performance from him! He is by no means a lead in this and yet he takes this movie into the upper echelons with all of the pivotal moments falling to him in some way or another. Josh Brolin has been in some big screen hit and misses of late (True Grit, Gangster Squad, Oldboy remake, Everest) and in Sicario he has hit his stride. The charismatic army man who we cannot help but feel is not telling us all of the truth.

The action scenes are shot brilliantly so that you are constantly second guessing if you are about to see an epic all out gun fight or if you are just left thinking something awful is about to happen every three seconds to no avail. That may frustrate some but that is great storytelling plain and simple.

Popcorn or Pie
Two hours of uncomfortable brilliance on a subject matter we all can't seem to get enough of. I'm not sure this is one you will go back to time and time again over the years and certainly it is too divisive a movie, in my option, to lend claim to film of the year. It will make you wish they opened up this story to reveal a bigger picture not just the snippet we are shown however wanting more is no bad thing. One more twist in the tale and this could have been a classic! That said; Go see. It's brilliant!

Say What?: Benecio Del Toro is no stranger to the drug cartel movie having been in Traffic (which he won an oscar), Savages, Escobar: Paradise Lost and now Sicario. All since 2000.

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