Sicario review

Denis Villeneuve
Emily Blunt
Benicio Del Toro
Josh Brolin
Victor Garber
Rated: R

“Sicario” is directed by Denis Villeneuve, who helmed my favorite picture of 2013 “Prisoners.” The director returns for another dark film with “Sicario,” which follows an FBI agent named Kate Macer (Blunt) who joins up with an elite government task force to fight the drug war on the southern U.S. border.

Kate quickly finds out that the team, led by agent Matt Graver (Brolin) and an expert hired by the government named Alejandro (Del Toro) don’t exactly operate within all the boundaries of the law.

In “Prisoners,” Villeneuve used a slow pace which was effective both to enforce the overall tone and also make the unraveling mystery more interesting. In “Sicario,” the same slow pace is used, however, it didn’t feel quite as effective.

This is mainly because in “Sicario,” the audience for the most part already knows the main objective and there’s not as much of a mystery to unravel.

It’s understandable that Villeneuve was trying to use the slow moving style as a way to explore the dangers and horrors of the war on drugs but this aspect was already apparent through most of the picture. After a while, the constant re-enforcement of the fact that the drug war is a terrible thing gets a bit tiresome.

Additionally, the film seemed to be going in the same vein as “Training Day” with an idealistic young person in law enforcement getting caught up with people outside the law. “Training Day” was able to get this type of story out better, though, because of how it told its story with some quick witted dialogue and fast pace.

With all of that said, though, “Sicario” does have a lot of aspects that still work to make it a film worth watching.

It’s biggest strengths come from the intense, edge of your seat atmosphere that persists in many of the scenes, especially the action sequences. For example, there is a scene on a bridge near a border crossing where the tension is set up phenomenally.

This level of intensity and suspense throughout “Sicario” is backed up by a wonderful score that helps set the tone and perfect cinematography.

The film also benefited from having some great actors portray the main leads. Both Brolin and Del Toro bring a lot of heaviness to their roles which help the movie’s tone. Meanwhile, Blunt is solid portraying the contrasting character, the young idealist who hopes the law can still be effective.

Overall, “Sicario” was a little too slow moving while having a story that wasn’t wildly complex. However, because of the perfect technical aspects, strong direction and experienced cast it’s worth checking out. 3.9 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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