Finally a film that I can say is really solid all around. Sicario is a dark, tense, drama/thriller about the drug war at the U.S. and Mexico border that offers a perspective of that war, and provides a strong narrative story as well.
Emily Blunt plays Kate Macer, an idealistic FBI tactical agent that gets enlisted by an elected governemnt task force to aid in the escalating war on drugs by the U.S. and Mexico border.
Emily Blunt continues her mastery of playing a woman of strength, yet with a realistic amount of vulnerability and humanity. Blunt’s Kate is a skilled and determined agent looking ot make a difference. So when Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and her boss Dave Jennings (Victor Garber), present her with an opportunity to join a special task force to hunt down and stop major drug trafficers, she joins right up.
An interesting thing about the way Sicario is shot is that the audience often gets as much information as Kate does. We are mostly in the same “need to know” information group. As Kate is thrown into this task force, she asks questions but gets very little answers. Well, straight ones, anyway. Josh Brolin is great as the lead on this force, Matt. He is almost jovial about his job; not just knowing what he has to do to get the job done, but thoroughly believing he is doing the right thing becasue there is no other way. He’s the kind of guy that says, “It’s going to be a great day” with a smile on his face while they all suit up in flack vests and auto-matic weapons.
Benecio Del Toro is Alejandro, Matt’s right hand man. He’s even more mysterious and les forth-coming with answers than Matt. Kate manages to get a few naswers from him about who he works for – just enough for us to know that something is up with this guy, but not quite sure how he fits into the puzzle yet. If you know what the word “Sicario” means, you’ll have an excellent idea of who he is and what he does.
As we learn things, so does Kate. For the most part, we get the feelings of discovery, of frustration, of shock, right along with her. Things aren’t done exactly by the book in this task force, and Kate is having strong feelings about this. And as the film progresses, we learn more and more about Alejandro. By the end of the film, a layered personal protrait is painted about who he is and what his motivations are. It’s a great role and it makes me want to see every film Benecio Del Toro has been in. He rules.
Sicario is full of tension, drama, black SUV’s, covert ops, some grisly imagery and spurts of high-energy shootouts. If even some of this film is based in reality, then things are pretty fucked up, indeed. We may not be winning the war on drugs, but there is plenty of blood being spilt over it.
But Sicario is a cool film, easily a four kittenhand theather-going experience. I’d say spend the money and see it in the theater, too. Will it be my first Oscar worthy pick? Yeah, it might be. Blunt or Del Toro might get a nod at awards time. We’ll see. Either way, you should check it out.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, gearing up for Shriekfest this weekend!