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If this movie would have came out post 2016 it would have been bombed by critics just like Rambo Last Blood. Great film that doesnt even scrape the surface on whats happening in Mexico.
Sicario was first released back in 2015. I just watched it for the first time last week…and I really have no excuse other than I'm an idiot. I knew I'd like it, I'd heard nothing but amazing things, and five minutes into the movie I completely regretted not watching it sooner. Sicario is, hands down, one of the best action/thrillers of the decade. Director Denis Villeneuve manages to create so much suspense and intensity throughout 120 minutes that at times it's almost unbearable. Needless to say, my fingernails did not survive this movie. The plot itself is fairly basic - the FBI teams up with some shady people to fight a brutal Mexican drug cartel. Emily Blunt plays the young FBI agent recruited into the fight, and for most of the movie the audience is just as confused and suspicious as she is. It delivers plenty of wonderful "what the hell?" moments, as you never really get a sense of anyone's true motivations until the end. The performances are universally terrific and the dialogue is sharp, but the main reason the movie works so masterfully is Villeneuve. With the help of some striking cinematography and a brilliant score, he gives us one of the most surprising, tense, and atmospheric thrillers in the history of the genre. If you've never seen Sicario, please don't make my mistake and see it ASAP.
A decent thriller with some pretty intense moments...doesn't always hit it's mark...but when it does, it's truly satisfying!
Both a slow burn and taught, all around kick ass.
Emily Blunt is excellent here. Benicio as well.
Denis Villeneuve is an extraordinary director having produced such exciting films as Arrival (2016) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and while I wouldn't call this film nearly as good as those he still brings unique vision and scope to a story that could easily be cliché and dull. Having watched this just a day after seeing Zero Dark Thirty (2012) there were a lot of comparisons to be drawn between the two and while Zero Dark Thirty is helped by this comparison as it does not make the mistakes that this film makes it was still fascinating to see how different filmmakers approach material that is in some ways similar. While crime thrillers are not necessary my favorite genre, they tend to be very male oriented, even I could accept that this film can be exhilarating as while as considering the complexities of the drug war more than the average film does.
FBI agent Kate Macer, Emily Blunt, joins a special task force after successfully leading a raid on a house run by a Mexican drug cartel. She is paired with Matt Graver, Josh Brolin, and Alejandro Gillick, Benicio del Toro, both of whom take actions that she disagrees with in attempting to punish those responsible for the deaths of people attempting to stop the drug trade. Throughout she is manipulated by the two men who use her to lure the men they want dead to them. She takes actions that they disagree with which angers them while she is resistant to condoning their actions while also aware that they are willing to have her tortured. Gillick's backstory is eventually revealed and he violently murders a drug lord who may have been responsible for the deaths of wife and child. Macer is eventually forced to submit to the will of the two men as they express a nihilist view on the war on drugs.
For all the praise of the performances I found them to be just alright. Blunt is a very capable leading lady as shown by My Summer of Love (2004) and Your Sister's Sister (2011) but here she displays none of the wonderful wit and warmth she brought to those roles and while she is perfectly fine as a relatively vacant young woman angry at how she has been used she can do so much more. Brolin is reliably sage and slightly smarmy as the aggressive Graver and del Toro brings the enigmatic presence that he used to such good use in Traffic (2000) but they had each given very similar performances to greater effect in other films and it was hard not be reminiscent for those films while watching this film. The supporting cast of Mexican actors are impressive as they bring a quiet sense of desperation to their roles as regular civilians but it would have been nice to see a lot more of them.
One element of the film that was superior to other crime thrillers was the cinematography as the legendary Roger Deakins worked on the film and he can make the reflection of light from streetlamps onto our main characters gorgeous. Most films of this sort look very generic but Deakins captures the Mexican landscape in all of it's ordinariness while still allowing us to understand that this is a dangerous environment to step into. Yes, the film definitely borrows some visuals from the films of Michael Mann but almost all modern crime films are inspired by Miami Vice and Heat (1995) and this film copies that style better than most. I can see why this film received a Best Picture nomination but it is hard to compete with the work of Emmanuel Lubezki on The Revenant (2015).
At the end of the day I didn't love the film but I can see why it was a financial success and I would prefer that a film like this succeeds over mindless dreck like Avengers: Endgame (2019). Villeneuve's Dune (2020) will be released next year and if he can bring the technical skills that he applies here to that film and extract decent performances out of Timothée Chalamet, Charlotte Rampling and Stellan Skarsgard I will be extremely excited to see his future work.
Denis Villeneuve (the director) has a tendency to just let his movies trail off, which I don't particularly appreciate but which works better in this film than in his others. The acting is precise, the cinematography as always is beautiful, and the tense traffic jam scene is fantastic. While the story is engaging I find myself wanting more of a take-away than this film provides, especially with the themes it deals with. Some of the characters' motifcations were more said than acted, which I would have liked to have seen done better. All in all, though, I understand why this was so well received initially, and I recommend it to people who like modern police thrillers (and can handle seeing some cut-up bodies).
Sicario chronicles morality in the war on drugs and attempts to restore order can turn corrupt. We see the moral spectrum through 3 main characters- Emily Blunt, the team player who plays strictly by the book, Josh Brolin, who lives in a grey area where he'll get the job done whatever means necessary, Benicio del Toro, a senseless killing machine morphed into the monster he's become by the deeds of the cartels he's combatting. Director Denis Villenueve bathes scenes in a murky yellow that creates a cloud of dread over a lot of the film and dials up intensity really well. He knows how to make you feel uneasy. Cinematographer gets some really cool overhead shots and helps ground you in the Mexico our characters are in conflict with. The heat vision and night vision is poorly executed and took me out of the movie. Benicio del Toro has a major, mysterious presence as an assassin who hides behind a pair of sunglasses. Josh Brolin and Emily Blunt are both fine, not their strongest performances, but they rise to the occasion and deliver decent performances. Sicario doesn't make you choose which side you're on in this elaborate web of federal agents, criminals and all around mayhem and I really like that about this movie. It's not black and white, it's grey. Sicario is really good and Taylor Sheridan has quickly become one of my favorite screenwriters working today.
Terrific thriller with heartpounding scenes and amazing performances. Blunt, Del Toro, and Brolin all shine in their roles and the ambiguity of what's right and wrong in the war against crime lingers after the film is over. The score is also great and the violence is memorable, due to the fact that it is grounded and not stylistic. It's raw and horrifying, demonstrating the grittiness the director was going for. The scene where the convoy is stuck in traffic is especially tense and well-shot.