The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Taylor Sheridan
Sicario is a throwback crime drama. About the Mexican-American drug trafficking and kidnapping cartels. Emily Blunt is at her badass best and the film drips with suspense mixed with testosterone. This is good film-making. Good writing. And nothing is taken for granted. Sicario is violent and gritty and political and very cool. With an unflinching realism that may leave some viewers cold. Not me. I love that shit.
First of all, Emily Blunt is becoming a top-tier action star. She still has that “Full Metal Bitch” body from Edge of Tomorrow, as she plays a FBI agent who is tasked with being the liaison between government agencies but she suspects the agency she’s working for is the CIA or worse.
The acting is stellar. Jeffrey Donovan shows up in a small role. And this guy has found a second act that is going to be a joy to watch. With his role in Fargo and now this, I am pumped to see him in dramatic roles. After Burn Notice, I’m loving his choices. Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin play opposite Emily as operatives from an unknown agency and they are fantastic as always. In Sicario, there are great performances all around.
Sicario keeps us in the dark for most of the way, so we know no more than the agent, as she tries to do the right thing; to operate by the book. But she finds she’s always one step behind and still in the dark. The film is brutal in the way it treats her. Trigger warnings. She spends some time at the mercy of mean large men and it can be difficult to watch. But I applaud the film for its unflinching realism. It would be so easy to make her super-powered or unrealistically capable. She’s bad-ass but she’s not a superhero.
Sicario starts out as one movie and then becomes something different. So if you feel that the first half is frustrating, the second half moves like a meditation. A meditation in violence and revenge. But it’s very satisfying. Sicario is like a 70’s cop drama. They were always hard to watch because of the suspense and the sinking suspicion that something extremely violent was always just about to happen. Sicario is the same way. Like something from early Al Pacino or Clint or Bronson but instead of a lawless American city. This is the border. This is Mexico. The tunnels. The drug war. It’s very good.
Sicario is gritty and violent and unflinchingly real and Emily Blunt is great in it. She makes a very believable female action-adventure, drama rock star. I want to see her do more.