Friday, November 25, 2016

Film Review: Sicario (2015)

Sicario (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It is a disturbingly real, powerful, and suspenseful thriller."

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), an FBI agent, is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the war against cartels at the US-Mexico border.

Sicario follows Kate Macer, a starry-eyed FBI agent with a record of perfection – a by-the-books agent who must follow procedure. After discovering dozens of decaying corpses and setting off a booby trap in Arizona, Kate is enlisted by CIA officer Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) to find and capture the real people responsible for the crimes – not the legs, but the heads. The couple are joined by Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro), Matt's enigmatic and skilled partner. Together, the task force begins to track the man responsible for the crimes – Manuel Diaz, a lieutenant of the Sonora Cartel. On the way, Kate witnesses atrocity after atrocity and struggles with the ethics of their operation. It's a very well-balanced thriller that shines light on the drug war in Mexico. It leads to a very strong ending, too.

Sicario is an excellent film. The plot is fine-tuned, crafting deep characters in a very raw world – it doesn't sugarcoat anything. It focuses on more of the U.S. perspective of things, but it does delve a bit into the issues in Mexico. Much like Eye in the Sky, another excellent film, Sicario is multi-layered. It can be enjoyed as the masterfully suspenseful thriller it is or it can be watched for its depth and themes, which mainly concern the ethics around such operations – or you can watch it as both. Either way, the film is engaging, tense, and powerful. It leaves an impression thanks to its uncompromising depiction of violence and it leaves you thinking thanks to its compelling plot. There aren't many films like this nowadays.

Emily Blunt is great as the leading lady. She shines in most of her scenes, really filling the shoes of her idealistic character. Josh Brolin is also great, coming off as effortlessly charismatic. Benicio Del Toro, however, steals the show. He delivers a strong but composed performance, never overacting or under-performing. The film is shot beautifully, I enjoyed the camerawork and cinematography. The music is also perfect for the film – I'm listening to the soundtrack as I write this review. The film was written by Taylor Sheridan and directed by Denis Villeneuve. Sheridan's writing is strong, creating a layered and effective plot. Villeneuve, as shown in Prisoners, is a master of suspense. Again, he creates an immersive, engaging, and unbelievably tense film.

Overall, Sicario is a fantastic movie. A few weeks ago, I said Eye in the Sky was one of my favorite films of 2015. Well, I think Sicario is now my definitive favorite of the year. It is a disturbingly real, powerful, and suspenseful thriller. With this, Villeneuve proves himself as one of the best contemporary directors. Watch it.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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