Beautifully dark, disturbing, and heart-pounding are just a few words that can describe Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario.
An FBI agent named Kate Mercer (Emily Blunt) embarks on a mission with a government operation in an attempt to find an extremely dangerous leader of a massive Mexican drug cartel.
Since this film’s sequel, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, is just around the corner, I figured I would review this film now, as I have not reviewed it yet if you can believe it. I had already seen the film back when it was originally released in 2015, but I decided to go ahead and watch the film a second time recently to refresh my memory of this twisted and masterful film.
Sicario‘s story is an extremely gripping and thrilling one. The film does clock in at one hundred and twenty one minutes, which gives us just enough time to become attached to our characters that we are introduced to. This is one of Villeneuve’s shorter films as his other works such as 2017’s Blade Runner 2049 are usually about two hours and thirty minutes in length. Blunt’s character Kate is an FBI agent who is visibly scared and shaken by the surroundings of the Mexican drug cartels, and wants to get the job done as quickly as possible. Her character can be relatable at times as well. Blunt has to deliver many scenes with just her face and she does it greatly.
The ending to the film is also one that, I remember clearly, when I watched it for the first time I was absolutely shocked. Few filmmakers out there these days have the courage to show such heart-wrenching things in film, and Villeneuve is one of the filmmakers who has that unmistakable courage. Sicario‘s ending is sure to leave all viewers in disbelief at what they just witnessed, and will leave you with a feeling of pure dread.
The film also luckily avoids many cliché moments. There are several scenes in Sicario, that could have been nothing more than tired tropes. But it greatly avoids these clichés at every turn, and it was amazing to see. Villeneuve is a filmmaker that clearly has an extremely large imagination, and when it comes to his art, he utilizes these ideas to the extreme, and they never fail to impress me and many other film lovers.
Easily one of my favorite aspects of Sicario is that it has a slow-burning build to everything. Villeneuve sets up questions but does not give the audience any answers for a prolonged period of time. Instead, he gives you small bits of information that, if a viewer pays close attention, will help the viewer get the answers quicker. I love that about the film as it challenges the audience to pay close attention, which is something more films these days should be doing.
Do not go into Sicario thinking that it is an action film with a plethora of explosions and chaos, as you will be immensely disappointed. The film is at its core, a thrilling dramatic crime film that benefits from amazing performances, particularly by Blunt and Benicio del Toro who portrays Alejandro Gillick.
The cinematography on display in the picture is beautiful as well, shot by my all time favorite film cinematographer, Roger Deakins, who also worked with Villeneuve on 2013’s Prisoners, and the aforementioned 2017 film Blade Runner 2049.
Sicario has a gripping and thrilling story, amazing cinematography, and boasts excellent performances by Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro.
Overall Grade: A
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, grisly images, and language
Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Running Time: 121 minutes