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.
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.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
El Sicario: Room 164 is an almost laughably simple, aggressively drab-looking film, but it packs a wallop.
| Original Score: B+
Gianfranco Rosi's extraordinary one-man documentary stares long and hard at the practiced but no less terrifying monologues of a Mexican hit man.
...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."
| Original Score: 7/10
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.
gives off the sense that you're watching a 60 Minutes interview with Death himself
| Original Score: 4/5
Despite his repentance, you sense that this lost soul will be confessing his sins for all eternity.
What appears to be a monologue documentary illuminates the elephant in the room. We are the killers.
| Original Score: 8/10
Finally less compelling for its random details of multiple brutalities than for its chilling portrait of a country irretrievably rotting from within.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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.
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.
| Original Score: 3/4
The stories are horrific, if laced with Tarantino-style humor.