Movie Review: Sicario
Stars: Emily Blunt, Benecio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Daniel Kaluyaa, Maximiliano Hernandez, Victor Garber, John Bernthal, Jeffrey Donavan
Rated R for strong violence, grisly images, and language, 121 minutes, Drama/Action/Crime
Compare to: Training Day (2001), The Kingdom (2007)
Haven’t been reviewing movies, been playing Metal Gear Solid V. Haven’t been eating much, been playing Metal Gear Solid V. Ironically, now that I’ve gone out in public again to watch a movie, I’d lost all my friends and had to go alone. Sucks for them, this movie is great.
I don’t like to throw out the generalized version of my opinion in the header but it is what it is. This one won’t be for everybody and the themes that run through it are sure to turn off viewers looking for something a bit less “grey” but as far as a quality film goes, specifically one that has something to say, this is a great choice. What do you expect from the director of Prisoners? I’m even loving the poster.
FBI agent Kate Macer is being inducted into a clandestine group of government agents seeking to put a stop to the violent crime spree of a powerful drug lord just south of the border. Problem for Kate is that the people she wants to fight and the people she’s fighting with seem to have more and more in common with each other the longer she’s around.
Great cast, well shot, and a visceral score, I don’t want to overdo this movie for you but it was one of those where I really needed to take a piss but didn’t want to get out of my seat. While many of the scenes feel like they could be done away with for the purpose of pacing, every shot fired, every straightforward question dodged; it’s all relevant. Director Denis Villeneuve knows when to go all out and when to hold back, that’s for sure.
I don’t really care for movies that are meant to send a message that isn’t universal. If it’s meant to be seen through the scope of an unreliable narrator is one thing, but a story meant to paint a certain political party or group of people as either entirely righteous or the opposite of that will normally be one for me to just skip. It’s annoying, it’s preachy. This, on the other hand, feels refreshing in a sense. I was a bit worried that given the subject matter, the film would get bogged down by it’s own cynicism but like I said, it knows when to hold back. We’re not given what could or should be, merely what is.
I don’t want to pretend to be some kind of expert of the “war on drugs” but something rings true to paint the picture of everyone on every side playing their part in their own way- a way that leaves those with black and white morality either to die or shoved out of the way as if they don’t matter. Not being a cynic myself makes these moments of the film all the more effective. No one is portrayed cartoonishly or over the top, but with a subtle realism leaving out the simplicity of “good and bad” when it comes to money and drugs.
I haven’t given you much about the actual film past the basic premise and that I like it and I’d like to leave it at that. It’s easy to figure out Emily Blunt’s character is idealistic and is thrown to a bunch of wolves, but what happens from there will be for you to enjoy. Or rather, stomach.
Positives: Well made all around. Topical subject matter makes for an even better viewing experience and something you’ll remember rather than allow your eyes to glaze over while you turn your brain off. Sure, that can be a good thing but this ain’t that.
Negatives: Dark subject matter, strong content that may turn many viewers off. Not quite an actual negative but as mentioned, this isn’t for everyone.