SICARIO – REVIEW: Denis Villeneuve’s cross border thriller is a dark, complex investigation into the front line of the drug war.
Emily Blunt plays Kate Macer, a Police officer who graduates from kicking in doors to join a special task force led by Josh Brolin’s amoral agent Matt. Matt is unconventional and so is his squad. The flipflop wearing dudester is obviously into rule breaking, with some kind of blessing from on high and we’re prepared for a classic Hollywood narrative as the young straight laced rookie learns to bend the rules to get results, getting a little crooked on the way. But like many things with Sicario, expectations are raised only to be subverted. Lines are crossed as well as borders as the team motor into a Mexico town to collect a potential witness, a thundering convoy into a hellish Mexican town is executed with brutal excitement, an almost documentary immersion into the world. A fog of compromise and doubt pervades the movie, which each character tries to cut through in their own way. The half-light of the Mexico-US border is caught by Roger Deakins amazing cinematography that imbues proceedings with a the kind of badlands noir that No Country for Old Men hinted at.
Another member of the squad is the apparently stateless Alejandro, played by a magnificent Benico Del Toro. No one is sure where he comes from or what his relationship is to the cartels, or what his legal role is. And he glowers with the kind of dark history of a dead man walking, an instrument of darkness who Matt employs but never truly controls. Former TV actor Taylor Sheridan has crafted a screenplay that provides the sort of grim fare that made the Seventies brilliant and Emily Blunt does her best to maintain her calm even as the film veers away from her and into much darker territory. By the end we don’t really know where we are and for the first time, I was genuinely looking forward to the Blade Runner sequel.