Release Date: October 2, 2015
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya, Jeffrey Donovan, Raoul Trujillo, Julio Cedillo, Hank Rogerson, Bernardo P. Saracino, Maximiliano Hernandez, Kevin Wiggins, Edgar Arreola, Kim Larrichio, Jesus Nevarez-Castillo, Dylan Kenin, John Trejo, Marty Lindsey, Alex Knight
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 121 minutes
Production Company: Black Label Media, Thunder Road Pictures, Lionsgate (USA)
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Language: English, Spanish
Sicario has an interesting translation. The true meaning of the word is not revealed until the end of the movie. The nature of the word can have a small or a large scale, making it all the more enticing. The film definitely is as well at points, opening you up to a world that’s right under your nose. The movie is set in a dangerous land, rife with tension, similar to a horrific game of where’s Waldo. The killer could be anywhere and show up at any moment. Director Denis Villeneuve is good at this, which he has proved especially in his 2013 film Prisoners. In these two films, he has been able to make the audience feel as if they’re alone and have nowhere to run. Although, this time, this technique may or may not have paid off in the end.
How would you feel about being the expert, top-notch, and head of your class, only to be then taken away and thrown into a hellhole? That hellhole being a place with no answers. That’s what happens to Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), an idealistic FBI agent who walks the path of innocence and danger. Her character is a simple person, who only seeks justice, especially when her colleagues and loved ones are involved. There wasn’t much to this person, but you respected her anyway. Movies would be boring if the character always got along, so the character Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) was introduced to stir some trouble. He’s honest, yet secretive at the same time. Even though I didn’t like his character, I still liked his character. He’s straight to the put, and rather rid of the bull. Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) is a mysterious shadow. You don’t want to get to know him, and he doesn’t want to know you. He does steal the show, but it wasn’t this presentation I wanted to see.
What I wished to see in the movie, I did. A gritty, violent action film with mystery and tension all around. Even after seeing the highlights in the trailers, these moments while watching on the big screen still hit home. It was fun to watch agents tip-toe back and forth, scared to take the wrong step. The next man they aimed for could be a civilian or a terrorist, and this made for one good guessing game. While the action was explosive and gripping, its muster dies several times during the duration of the movie. As soon as such scenes ended, I wanted more, but was also left feeling jarred. This happened a number of times, but not enough times to prevent myself from enjoying the movie entirely.
The film did an excellent job at setting the stakes. Towards the beginning, even though you didn’t know all the details, you knew the mission that was to be solved: there’s a bad guy, look at what he’s done, and he needs to be caught. Of course, as part of the audience, you’re in for the ride. But, what makes a film more interesting is not knowing whom to trust on this ride. Are the good guys really good? That question runs through your mind during the entire time, which elevates the nail-biting experience. The unfortunate part about it, in my opinion, is that this suspense doesn’t pay off at all. During the whole story, you’re focused on one character only for them to become the secondary role, while someone else takes on a personal vendetta. I’m not saying it isn’t interesting, but by doing so, the film doesn’t come full circle, hence creating an empty feeling. It’s very disappointing and brings the entire film down.
I don’t think it’s a hard rule to follow, but if you’re going to promise something in a trailer, it needs to be delivered. I don’t want something else, even if a pretty salesman says that something else is just as good. At the technical level, the film can hit a few out of the park. The editing is superb, the sound effects are strong, and the soundtrack/score gives life to the movie. Although, as far as entertainment is concerned, this movie runs out of gas before it reaches the end. Considering some parts of this film you could label it as an action thriller, but now it feels like a drama that didn’t pay off at the end.