Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Movie Review: Sicario (2015)

Movie: Sicario (2015)

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Taylor Sheridan

Cast: Benecio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya, Maximiliano Hernandez & Jeffrey Donovan

One-Line Plot Synopsis: An FBI agent (Blunt) is enlisted in a joint task force to fight the US-Mexican border Drug War.

The Mexican-American border and more specifically the drug trade has recently been becoming a more popular topic for both TV and Movies to depict.  From the totally under-appreciated FX show The Bridge, to the National Geographic series Border Wars, to movies such as the Oscar nominated Maria Full of Grace and Traffic, and more recently, the documentaries Cartel Land, Kingdom of Shadows, and Narco Cultura

As realistic and frightening as Sicario comes across, it really has nothing on what some of the documentaries can depict.  Having said that, Sicario is an intensely fierce depiction of the violent ongoing war on drugs that Mexico and the Mexican-American border are fighting.

Director Denis Villeneuve is specifically known for being able to illustrate extremely tense situations and scenarios with incredible specificity and a darkness that makes the audience feel both uncomfortable and yet extremely impressed by the visuals and tone of his films (like in Prisoners and Incendies).  He seems to be able to have a hold on how to walk the tight-rope balance of entertainment and legitimacy.  You feel as if you're alongside the characters being shown on screen and the pulsating constrictions of all the emotions that they're going through.  

Emily Blunt plays the opportunist and idealistic FBI Agent who is roped into a joint task force to battle against the terrifyingly savage drug trafficking culture in Mexico.  Blunt is really making a name for herself as a incredibly believable female protagonist of some action movies lately (i.e. The Edge of Tomorrow) and is slowly becoming one of my favorite actresses working today.  For a movie like this, it's between Jessica Chastain and herself for who I would most like to see in it.

My favorite scene in the movie is when the task force is crossing back over the Mexican-American border after completing a mission on the Mexican side.  The cinematography by Roger Deakens is astounding (as always) and plays off that tension that Villeneuve is so good at burning into a viewer. The entire scene plays off the two polar opposite reactions of the people involved.  The task force is surgical in their tactical evaluation of the situation but Emily Blunt's character is so overwhelmed by the chaotic nature of everything going on at the same time.  The two differing perspectives is stunning to watch play out.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, I'd wait to watch the below scene because it's pretty fucking great, but if you have already seen the movie, then sit back and enjoy, quite possibly, my favorite single scene of 2015.

There's so many ways to explore the drug trade that's so close to our borders and I'm interested to see what kinds of stories emerge over the next couple of years.  If they're anything like Sicario, then I'll be waiting with baited breath.

Rating: 8/10

P.S. Jeffrey Donovan makes everything thing he's in a little better.