Would you like to watch an action movie staring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin? I would too, but Sicario is not that film. That is not to say it is bad, as matter of fact it is very good. It is just important to know what you are getting yourself in to with a movie, and Sicario is a slow burn tactical thriller about the War on Drugs during its height in the early 2010’s.
Emily Blunt plays Kate Macer an FBI SWAT team leader that has been assigned to a joint task force to take down a major Mexican drug cartel, but much like people watching Sicaio thinking it is an action film, the operation is not what she expected. The longer she sticks with the mission, the crazier things get.
Sicario is a drug-land version of Alice in Wonderland. Around every corner is something new and unexpectedly horrifying, but the viewer much like Kate needs to stick around to the end to see if any sense can be made of it all. While the movie has a clear political stance it is smart enough not to give any convenient or easy answers to the complex problems the film represents.
With a cast as talented as the one in Sicario it is no wonder that acting is fabulous. From Blunt’s wide eyed FBI agent to Brolin’s almost smarmy task force leader there is good work all around, but the clear best of show goes to del Toro as the mysterious and stoic ‘agent’. While he is always in control you can see his violent and troubled past bubbling beneath the surface.
I love the way the director Denis Villeneuve depicts the ‘action’ in this film. While it is no doubt violent it is shown in a matter of fact way. These violent acts are being carried out by professionals taking care of business. There are no Rambos here. It is shocking almost how mundane it all seems. These are their nine to five jobs.
Sicario was a crazy tour through Mexico’s drug war. It was thrilling and alarming if not terribly exciting. If you go in knowing you are going to watch, you are in for a very good film made a by a group of extremely talented filmmakers. Though here is hoping we get that Blunt, del Toro, and Brolin action film one of these days.