Emily Blunt stars in this dark, gritty and compelling crime thriller centred around the Mexican drug cartel, the FBI and the CIA. Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is a committed FBI agent with a remarkable track record of responding to accelerated drug cartel activity on the border United States-Mexico border. Her work brings Kate to the attention of task force leader Matt (Josh Brolin) who recruits her skills to aid him in taking down an infamous yet slippery cartel figurehead, one responsible for brutal acts of violence that has decimated towns on the Mexican border. Working with Matt and the cryptic Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), she soon deduces that she’s caught up in a bloody conflict beyond her understanding. Soon enough, she questions where her loyalties lie, as well as those of her superiors. Her superiors have secrets and they are not what they seem. Emily Blunt (Edge Of Tomorrow) goes dark in this engaging and suspenseful thriller from director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners), a world where nobody can be trusted and you have to assume everyone is up to something.
Emily Blunt is front and centre. This is Sicario’s unique selling point. This separates this movie from other Hollywood movies and television series made about narcotics and corruption in law enforcement. This goes from Pulp Fiction to Training Day to Scarface to Trainspotting and even to the grossly overrated AMC’s Breaking Bad (Just one man’s opinion, I will be killed for saying this). Macer is a pro in her craft and we witness the opening scene where she is leading a team into a potential hostage situation in a house situated in Arizona which reveals a brutal revelation of forty-two corpses hidden within the walls. Arizona, Sicario, Mexico and the all the themes and places this movie moves between; this is no country for old men. Blunt’s Macer is more of the FBI’s Ned Stark. Her ethics and honor are what puts her life at risk consistently throughout the movie.
When we think of a FBI agent, we think a pain in the arse, unemotional, cold, corrupt. They’re trained to shoot, have training in hand-to-hand combat and sometimes kill if need be. This is what I have pulled from movie portrayals of the FBI. Then there’s one who is a human embodiment of justice. Kate Macer plays this role of righteousness. She made an oath, that she will uphold the law. This case makes her reevaluate her character and what it means to be part of the FBI. This is real life and she has a real hard time deciding what’s good and what’s evil. She struggles to walk her path while remaining true to her principles. Blunt never plays down Kate’s vulnerability and naivety to the world. She is the POV character, and we see the world as she does. She has a tough life and can’t even score in a bar as we see with Joe Berthnal’s Ted (The Walking Dead), soon to be Frank Castle/The Punisher in season two of Netflix’s Daredevil. She is about to get laid by Ted and she can’t even get that right. Kate’s need for emotional attachment and simply having sex only get her into more trouble. Being a woman, and her femininity is just another vulnerability that can be used against her. In a job of her nature, love and having emotions is weakness.
I really enjoyed this movie. It was a thrilling chase of an elusive gangster. Yes, I’d call him a gangster. I’m not really a fan of crime thrillers but I was relatively surprised about how good this film was. Josh Brolin’s (Everest) performance was entertaining, witty and amusing with a likeable charm yet there were times where you just wanted to punch him for his treatment of Kate and his arrogance. He’s a gum chewing cocky prick but you want to like him at the same. He fancies himself as a James Bond, just without the class and British charisma. Blunt’s performance was very emotional and thought-provoking at times. Kate is the only ‘good guy’ in this movie, as much as federal agencies might claim that they are. There are bad guys and badder guys. Del Toro (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Brolin playing the bad guys. Del Toro stole the show with his Alejandro. His character frightened me, unreadable and very subtle with his intentions. He’s scary to look at. Alejandro is very still and has a quiet superiority, that at times depicts genuine emotions. Then he severs all emotional attachment at will, and delivers unrelenting ruthless brutality.
The cinematography from Deakins is masterclass. The use of darkness is quality, with a night raid by the US agents seeing their silhouettes becoming the night. We feel scared because we can’t see them but they see us yet mesmerized as well, due to the excellent use of camera and lighting. Del Toro stole the show but performances from Blunt and Brolin are to be commended. Sicario is a must watch purely for the cinematography and Del Toro’s flawless acting performance. Truly a must watch with many twists & turns and “what the fuck” moments, it’s a new kind of crime thriller.