Sicario Review

Sicario

C’mon guys, i was young and needed the money…

Sicario means hitman in Mexico.

That’s the first thing we’re told at the start of Denis Villeneuve’s latest film, yet we proceed to see the world through the eyes of a character who is very obviously not a hitman.

Hell, she’s not even a man… but then all is not as it seems in Sicario.

Kate Macer is a hardened detective who works kidnapping cases in some faceless american state on the Mexican border.

Being this close to Mexico brings plenty of drug shaped drama to Macer’s neck of the woods, which is graphically demonstrated in Sicario’s opening act.

Having unintentionally uncovered one of the state’s biggest crime scenes, Macer is hauled back to report to her superior officers, where she meets a mysterious, flip-flop wearing external agent by the name of Matt Graver.

Invited to serve justice to the door of whoever was responsible for the massacre she stumbled upon, Macer soon finds herself in over her head as she tries to work out the real agenda of the secretive Graver, and his even more clandestine colleague Alejandro.

Being a fan of Villeneuve’s previous hard-hitting films like Incendies and Prisoners, I was keen to see if Sicario could live up to such lofty expectations.

And for the most part, it does.

Emily Blunt plays Kate Macer, the naive ingenue who gets sucked into a world of covert operations and secret agent men, while Josh Brolin is her carefree handler, who evades questions with all the nous of David Cameron’s overworked pr guru.

And then there’s Benicio del Toro’s south of the border consultant Alejandro, who’s hiding more than just eyes behind those dark glasses wrapped around his phizog.

Blunt’s wide eyed charm make her Sicario’s most sympathetic character, the one we’re supposed to identify with and you do – because we’re just as clueless as she.

We blindly follow her on the increasingly dangerous missions her covert new colleagues draw her into, which seems to be a noir shaped trend in drama these days, a la Inherent Vice or True Detective.

But compared to the men whose company she keeps, Blunt’s pretty boring; so it doesn’t take long for Brolin and Del Toro to take over Sicario’s show, which is kind of the point.

The tension builds as we head towards a dramatic denouement, but the rather ordinary climax fails to live up to what goes before it.

Still, like every Villeneuve film I’ve seen, Sicario is a very well made film, it’s just the execution is a little off.

Which is surprising for a film about hitmen.

Jonathan Campbell

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October 2015
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