Wednesday, December 23, 2015


I've been a big fan of director Denis Villeneuve since I saw Incendies and the emotionally complex film became one of my favorites of 2011. I also saw his 2013 film Prisoners (starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Terrence Howard and Maria Bello) which is a taut thriller about suspicion and kidnapping. Both Incendies and Prisoners have very good ratings from (92% and 81%, respectively).

Villeneuve is back this year with Sicario, (starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, and Josh Brolin) a thriller about the drug war. Sicario is also critically acclaimed, with a rating of 93%.

The film revolves around Blunt's character who is an FBI agent who is pressured into volunteering for an inter-agency Task Force to work with characters played by Brolin and Del Toro after she discovers a house in a Phoenix suburb with dozens of corpses that are directly linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

The story (written by Taylor Sheridan) proceeds at breakneck pace, as both we and Blunt's character are swept along by events, crossing the border from the United States to Mexico and back again to retrieve a person we are old is a person of interest in the ongoing investigation, without much more of an explanation as to what is going on and why. Eventually we are told that Brolin's character is ostensibly trying to cause a big enough of a ruckus so that the head of the cartel that was responsible for the bodies found in the Phoenix area will take notice and make a move that would expose him to capture by law enforcement.

However things are not what they seem and eventually it becomes clear that the motives of the characters played by Brolin and Del Toro are not completely aligned with those of the FBI and Blunt's character. This is exposed in a harrowing sequence where all of the main characters go into a long drug-running tunnel where some surprising (and very violent) events occur and Blunt's suspicions are confirmed.

Overall, Sicario is suspenseful, adrenaline-pumping ride which depicts the realities and ethical dilemmas of the drug war with compelling verisimilitude.

Title: Sicario.
Director: Denis Villeneuve.
Running Time: 121 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, grisly images, and language.
Release Date: October 2, 2015.
Viewing Date: November 27, 2015.

Writing: A-.
Acting: A-.
Visuals: A+.
Impact: B+.

Overall Grade: A/A- (3.75/4.0)

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