I did not see Sicario in the theater, even though the film caught my eye. I typically leave theater viewing to epic sagas, films with grand vistas, or larger-than-life scenes. Once Sicario hit rental status, I eagerly grabbed a copy. I’ve always been a fan of Emily Blunt (especially in Edge of Tomorrow), but when I saw the enigmatic Benicio Del Toro was also featured, this turned into a must see.
The plot revolves around the U.S. and Mexican border where drugs, violence, and blurred lines are common. A story pulled right from the headlines, you might start thinking this is just another film about the drug war — but there is something else here as an idealistic FBI agent (played by Emily Blunt) volunteers for a small team committed to changes the balance of power in the South American drug cartels. She is teamed up with two edgy characters (played by Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro) who open her eyes to the reality of border life. Blunt’s character discovers questionable activities, where the ends justify the means, and struggles to find the right path. That conflict hovers above the film during the entire viewing.
If you forced me to choose a single word for this film I arrive squarely at, “Intense.” Sicario grabs you from the first moment and does not let go. The plot continues to develop as a near perfect pace, mixed with a somber score and some staggering cinematography. The intensity never relents, taking some interesting and unexpected twists along the way. The acting is also top-shelf and lines are delivered with precision and power.
Those looking for the perfect ending will be disappointed — don’t get me wrong, the ending is actually perfect for this style of film but you won’t find puppies, sunshine, or unicorns prancing about. No, this film is all edge, grit, and ruthlessness.
When Sicario finished, I sat in dumb silence for a moment then verbalized, “Wow” to no one. It has been a long time since I saw a film which didn’t apologize for it’s own brutality — in any way. And mark my works, Sicario is vicious (but not gory), intense (but not zealous), and unforgiving in its most simple form. I found this film enjoyable not because of how it made me feel but because the story, acting, and production value all pushed home a well crafted plot. Near flawless for all the right reasons thus I give his film 8 / 10. Worth renting right now.