Sicario — directed by Denis Villeneuve is a masterclass in unrelenting tension. This is a film that immediately kicks into overdrive, and you are immediately expected to keep up with the wild ride that it has to offer. Not for quite some time have I been so intently glued to a film that is unwilling (deservedly so) to let go of my attention. Prepare to be left physically and emotionally drained by the end of this intensely structured film.
In Sicario we follow FBI agent Kate Macer, played by Emily Blunt — as she is dragged deeper into the escalating world of the war on drugs by some shady Government agencies. Taking place primarily between the US and Mexico border, Macer’ by the book ways are quickly tested as she learns that the criminals and the corrupt don’t only lie beyond the border, but also within the blindly trusted US organisations.
So perhaps the most rewarding but also uncomfortable aspect of Sicario is how director Denis Villeneuve keeps the audience (and me especially) in a constant state of fear and unrelenting tension. This film never abandons its intensity — from the first scene to the final scene, Sicario is a continuous wave of nerves and unexpected jumps. I don’t think I relaxed once during the films 2 hour run time and I loved it. Maybe I’m a bit of a masochist but this film had me hooked to its cruelty. Villeneuve really knows how to keep the momentum of his films moving in the most precise of manners — he seems to know exactly what he wants to do with scenes, and what it results in is something truly memorable.
What also aided Villeneuve and his film was the stellar cast of actors and the unconventionally interesting characters. Emily Blunt who as I pointed out already plays Kate Macer, the lead in the film, and Blunt is simply brilliant in the film. Her performance for me is now definitely my favourite she has ever done. What’s great about it is how she is utilised — Macer as a character is almost the avatar for the audience. She is brought into this unknown world and shown some terrible things, and it is along with her that we learn and see what is really going on in the messed up world of drugs, and their effect on two very different countries. It also doesn’t hurt that Blunt delivers a subtle, heart wrenching performance, one that superbly headlines everything.
It’s not only Emily Blunt who delivers something memorable in the film. Both Josh Brolin, who plays Matt Graver and Benicio Del Toro, who plays Alejandro, give some cold, unsettling and unflinching performances. Brolin for me is an actor who is always hit or miss, but Sicario proves that with the right director at the helm, Brolin can give something great, and this is that film. Now on the other hand Benicio Del Toro is an actor who for me personally has never missed a step. This is an actor who sinks deep into his roles and comes out the other side the character he is supposed to be. Del Toro steals the show at times. Both he and Emily Blunt are in a constant back and forth for outstanding performance, and in the end it is us the audience who wins. Del Toro becomes the monster that director Denis Villeneuve needed to be in this film, and is it something incredible to watch.
Something that is interesting in Sicario is how director Denis Villeneuve paces his film. This is a film that is very slow. Now for me I loved how Villeneuve gave as much time as he saw fit for scenes to play out. Villeneuve would stay on characters long after what is normally done, and there would be scenes of nothing but landscapes or characters quietly contemplating their situation. For me I like this type film making. I find it more stimulating, but I can see this film be a struggle for some. It doesn’t help that Sicario has been poorly marketed. The trailers make it seem like the film will be an all-out action fest, with explosions and gun fights. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Sicario is a slow, deliberate film — a film that has a very distinctive story to tell. Scenes filled with enriching dialogue and characters dealing with some heavy emotional trauma are what Sicario presents and excels in — going forward it will be interesting to see if this miss-marketing helps or harms Sicario’ reputation.
Sicario is a very unconventional film. Director Denis Villeneuve offers something raw and believable and for me a film that burrows deep into your psyche and leaves a distinctive mark. By the end of the film I was exhausted and satisfied, and a little shocked by the journey that Sicario had taken me on.
I am absolutely going to recommend Sicario. This is an extremely intensive film, one that I assure you, you need to see.
So what did you think of Sicario, why not let me know in the comments down below? If you want to keep up with my reviews, follow me on Twitter,@GavinsTurtle. All that’s left to say is that I hope you have a splendid week.