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El Sicario, Room 164 (2011)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 638

My Rating

Movie Info

In an anonymous motel room on the U.S./Mexico border, a Ciudad Juárez hitman speaks. He has killed hundreds of people and is an expert in torture and kidnapping. He was simultaneously on the payroll of the Mexican drug cartels and a commander of the Chihuahua State Police. There is currently a $250,000 contract on his life and he lives as a fugitive, though he has never been charged with a crime in any country. With his face obscured by a black mesh hood, he tells his story to the camera inside

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (1)

The stories are horrific, if laced with Tarantino-style humor.

January 4, 2012 Full Review Source: NPR
NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rosi avoids all embellishments, such as re-creating some of the crimes. A wise choice, since the hit man's narration is compelling and frightening on its own.

December 28, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Finally less compelling for its random details of multiple brutalities than for its chilling portrait of a country irretrievably rotting from within.

December 27, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's sparse, almost banal presentation is a virtue, for to boldface the horrors under discussion would only trivialize or sensationalize them, as the Mexican murder magazines do.

December 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite his repentance, you sense that this lost soul will be confessing his sins for all eternity.

December 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gianfranco Rosi's extraordinary one-man documentary stares long and hard at the practiced but no less terrifying monologues of a Mexican hit man.

June 28, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

...never dull thanks to the intrinsic interest of the subject matter and dramatic sense and disarming frankness of the narrator, whose attitude and lack of regrets could be summed up as "business is business."

April 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

This one-man dramatization is not a film, but surely an indictment. Rosi's 'grey zone where good and evil meet' is wide of the mark; this is pure evil.

February 6, 2012 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

What appears to be a monologue documentary illuminates the elephant in the room. We are the killers.

December 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

gives off the sense that you're watching a 60 Minutes interview with Death himself

December 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

El Sicario: Room 164 is an almost laughably simple, aggressively drab-looking film, but it packs a wallop.

December 29, 2011 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

A cross between a feature-length home movie and instant avant-garde classic, El Sicario, Room 164 records a man in a room (though not just any man) talking for 80 charged minutes.

December 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A lot of evil is laid on the table in El Sicario, and the film makes a big, if exquisitely subtle show, of theorizing that there's no way to explain how it got there.

December 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

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