Sicario is directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benecio Del Toro. The movie follows FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) who volunteers to aid a government task force capturing drug cartels along the U.S.-Mexican border. Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is a Department of Defense adviser who is leading the elite team along with Alejandro (Benecio Del Toro) to capture these drug cartels. Matt sees potential in Kate and sees that she is eager to make a difference. The main goal of this operation is ultimately to capture Manuel Diaz, who heads one of the main cartels.
I was incredibly excited for Sicario, as I am a huge fan of the director and the cast in this movie is very talented. The trailers really impressed me and I was going into the theater with high expectations. Not only were these expectations met, but they were surpassed. Sicario is undoubtedly one of the best movies of the year. Ever since I saw it Saturday night, it has been burning in my mind because of the impact that it left on me. From the opening sequence, I knew this movie was going to be something special.
The opening sequence started out with an intense action scene that had outstanding cinematography. While all the action scenes had an intense atmosphere and had fantastic cinematography, what really stuck with me the most was how the director had wide shots which showed how atrocious the drug war is. In particular, when the characters were driving, you see wide shots of Mexico and some of the imagery is unsettling. Roger Deakins (one of my favorite cinematographers), uses techniques which are terrific and disturbing simultaneously. There are several scenes where someone is being tortured and instead of watching the scene, you only hear what is going on. Both the director and the cinematographer showed some of the truths involving the war on drugs.
The performances are absolutely magnificent. Blunt arguably gives the best performance of her career. Through her characters’ eyes, we see what she is seeing and how this mission is tearing her apart. Every time she feels disturbed or shocked by the things she sees, we can’t help but feel the same. Brolin is also fantastic. He has an attitude of not caring and provides some comic relief in the movie.
The standout, however, is Benecio Del Toro with an Oscar-worthy performance. Not only was he terrifying and ruthless, but his character easily had the most depth and, as the movie goes on, we want to know more about his past. There is a scene towards the end that involves him going on a solo mission and I was in utter shock.
The only problem I can see people having with this movie is that it is so immeasurably dark that there is essentially not a shred of hope. However, the movie is so well executed, it is almost impossible not to recommend it. I still cannot stop thinking about it and I hope to see some award consideration in the upcoming Oscar season. Sicario is brilliant and I cannot wait to see what the director does next.