Movie Reviews: 'Sicario'

Sicario (Review)

By Carleton Rutter

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Jon Bernthal, and Josh Brolin

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Strapline: "The Deeper you go, the darker it gets"

So, in a nutshell?

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is an idealistic FBI agent who is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.

So, what are my thoughts?

Today, is the first day of fall, and with Sicario, summer is very much over. Despite featuring some impressive set pieces, the movie acts as more of an insight into the depressing and horrifying war on drugs as opposed to a summer blockbuster that may have championed it's action. What we are offered therefore is an unflinching look at this ruthless world.

Sicario marks the third English language drama for the 47-year-old French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, after his engrossing child kidnap movie Prisoners and Enemy which also starred Jake Gyllenhaal. Front and centre of this movie though is Emily Blunt through whose eyes the movie unfolds. Blunt proved her action credentials on last year's Edge of Tomorrow. The project for which the English actress was brought to Villeneuve's attention. 

Sicario get's off to an explosive start, literally but unfortunately it then loses it's way in the world of Mexican Cartels. From a technical standpoint the movie is extremely impressive. Featuring thrilling sequences, that are well shot, lit and edited. My favourite of them being a high speed convoy in and out of Mexico to bring back a captured drug lord. The movie also features some beautiful aerial shots that are near perfection. All of this is aided by Jóhann Jóhannsson's chilling score that helps raise the tension to a steady series of crescendos that well never really happen.

And well, that's the problem, the movie walks the walk but it does not talk the talk. The movie is very well cast though with Blunt further proving her acting credentials front and centre as a plausible tough central heroine. Del Toro (My favourite character by far) is on fine form as the mysterious Alejandro. A sidebar on his character by the way, I read in the news that there may well be a sequel to Sicario with Del Toro's character taking centre stage. Del Toro's bad cop-bad cop partner is Josh Brolin who is also excellent as the hard hitting "Take no prisoners" Matt. Daniel Kaluuya who plays Blunt's on screen partner Reggie holds his own against more experienced hands and provides the much needed comic relief at times. Victor Garber and John Bernthal are the only actors that a really underused.

So all the ingredients are in place, but the movie just doesn't come though the way it should. With the quality of directing, cinematography, acting and film scoring on offer, Sicario whilst successfully hard hitting enough to distance itself from the popcorn summer fayre, never really hits it out of the park. The movie provides you with a series of set pieces that never really pay off. In style, one could say that at times it felt like several episodes of a TV series pinned together. They could have even called it CSI Mexico. 


Sicario is a missed opportunity. All the pieces are lined up, direction, acting, cinematography but they never really fall into the place. It's beautifully shot, and features another great central turn from Blunt with solid support from Del Toro and Brolin. My issue with Sicario is that it's all build up and no delivery, the cinematographer is writing cheques the script writers can't cash. From a visual standpoint this holds it's own on the big screen, and fans of Blunt, Brolin or Del Toro will no doubt check it out. But for the rest of us, just check this out when it's released at home.

My next review will be....
The Martian 3D starring Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain, Chitwetel Ejiofor, Kristian Wiig & Sean Bean
September 27th




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