Film Review – Sicario (2015)

Sicario - Emily Blunt

Title – Sicario (2015)

Director – Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners)

Cast – Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Daniel Kaluuya, Jon Bernthal

Plot – Well drilled and down the line FBI Agent Kate Macer (Blunt) is teamed up with CIA operative Matt Graver (Brolin) and his mysterious offsider Alejandro (Del Toro) to help tackle the increasing threat of the Mexican drug cartels on American soil. This dangerous operation will lead Kate into the heart of enemy territory, that may be closer to home that she first realises.

“Nothing will make sense to your American ears, and you will doubt everything that we do, but in the end you will understand”

Review by Eddie on 28/01/2016

If you’ve got nails before watching Sicario you certainly won’t have after it, for this beautifully lensed and tension riddled Mexican cartel themed thriller is a nail-biting experience of a high order that from its explosive opening through to breathtaking night time finale will have you very much on the edge of your seat even if you don’t know exactly what’s happening or even care much for our main protagonists.

The 4th film on the trot that has quickly established French/Canadian director Denis Villeneuve as one of the inform directors of Hollywood – his previous films where the incredible Incendies (please anyone that has yet to see this film do so now), Enemy and PrisonersSicario once more showcases the directors visual sensibilities and skill with creating an intensely crafted narrative and while Sicario may fall short on emotional sensibilities it’s very likely it was another part of the reason why Villeneuve has been chosen to helm the soon to be shot Blade Runner sequel.

The lack of emotion that runs through Sicario, from its characters through to its cold as ice handling of life and death, is likely a long thought about process that falls hand in hand into the way in which even our central character of Emily Blunt’s dedicated and by the book FBI Agent Kate Macer is thrown into a world she knows far less about than she’d ever have thought and how the essence of her mission directives remain clouded by a murky world of politics and dastardly deeds.

Viewers feel a sense of being overwhelmed much like Macer herself feels but through this quick-fire and often frenetic journey we get treated to a haunting Johann Johannsson score, some amazing scenery and sequences shot by legendary D.O.P Roger Deakin’s (who in any other year not against The Revenant would’ve finally had his long overdue Oscar) and a Benicio Del Toro performance that can count itself very unlucky to have missed out on some more awards attention. It’s a great reminder of Del Toro’s talents and the arc of his mysterious character Alejandro is one that elevates the film whenever his on screen.

Sicario is easily one of 2015’s most accomplished thrillers and an uncompromising look at how the drama playing out daily in Mexico through its illegal activities is steadily finding its way into the land of America whether the nation acknowledges it or not. Cold as ice but on fire in many departments, Sicario is sleek Hollywood movie making and another win for director Denis Villeneuve in what’s quickly and assuredly becoming quite the career behind camera.

4 interrupted family dinners out of 5

31 responses to “Film Review – Sicario (2015)

  1. I love the director but this was my least favorite of his films so far (loved Prisoners, and Enemy). Not that it’s bad by any means, but his other works were really emotionally effective so I was looking for that. Sicario had really some thrilling parts, interesting shot choices, and effectively highlights a harsh reality that’s ignored far too often by mainstream America. Some of the most well made points are done visually, without characters spewing raw political explainers.

    Maybe my expectations were too high, especially with that cast? Can’t say I’ve lowered them in anticipation of Bladerunner’s sequel. I’m a big PKD fan as well, and I want an amazing story he felt he absolutely had to tell. Ryan Gosling has been cast opposite Harrison Ford, so I bet its going to be his highest funded project by a large margin. I think he’s more than good enough of a director to pull it off.

    • Agreed on all points mate – especially about Denis’s previous films. Have you seen Incendies? Wow that was just utterly mind blowing.

      I feel as though his a fantastic and in many ways inspired choice for Blade Runner – the movie geek in me hopes he recruits Deakins to shot the film as it would just look amazing.

  2. I missed this one in cinemas and have been desperate to see it ever since, especially after reading the reviews – you’ve definitely boosted my anticipation Eddie! I didn’t realise Villeneuve was responsible for Incendies. It’s never really appealed to me but now I know he was involved I’ll have to check it out. Good to see Del Toro back in the spotlight too.

    • Yeh I was shattered I missed this one at the cinemas mate. It looks great on bluray and Del Toro is awesome.
      Incendies is an incredible watch, just fantastic thriller moviemaking.

  3. Good review Eddie. It’s tense and unpredictable, but also has a lot to say about the war on drugs and why, in some ways, it’s doing more harm, than actual good.

  4. Will watch this tonight. From your review, I’ll be expecting to bite my nails down to the bone, fall right off the edge of my seat, have my heart skip beats like it’s jumping rope, then put an actual human heart in my actual mouth. And my breath will not abate while I literally sit on tenterhooks until they sink into my flesh. Did I miss any idioms?

    Also, how did I not know about a Blade Runner sequel??

    • Hopefully you don’t fall right off the chair mate. But yes its a tense film, especially the opening, middle act and finale.

      Oh yes indeed – the Blade Runner sequel is getting better by the day!

  5. As much as I enjoyed this, I didn’t love it like most. Del Toro was phenomenal, but Blunt worked on my last nerve (and I honestly did not expect that). The movie also comes across as trying to be smarter than it actually is, and that is a drawback for me.

    So glad to see you enjoyed it so much, Eddie!

  6. I feel I must go watch Incendies now! I’ve loved all his other films…. I’m not sure about Blade Runner though. The original is so perfect…. it will interesting to see what Denis can do with it

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