Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Sicario is the latest throwback to the drug war genre, opening to an explosive action sequence, resonating with threat. FBI’s response team for kidnapping is headed by Emily Blunt (2nd tough lady role after Edge of Tomorrow) based in Arizona, heads in a Humvee to a remote location owned by Mexican cartel, unsure what to expect.

Plot

Sicario’s opening sequence portrays the ongoing drug war between Mexican cartels and the U.S. government along the Arizona strip. With a guilt-ridden conscience, Kate Macer is hired by Josh Brolin into his anti-narcotics task force unit. Upon discovery, an ordinary home serves as a cartel causalities warehouse. 

Without half-knowing her assignment, she’s on-route with Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), on a flight down to Juarez to tackle Mexican cartel.

Holding the dear rules of order, justice and human laws melt away immediately. Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro are well-aware of the necessary evil to yank off the growing cartel cancer, leaving her staring into an abyss of darkness beyond boundaries of right and wrong.

The steely verve of monster Humvee vehicle tearing through is reminiscent of Zero Dark Thirty and The Silence of the Lambs, aiming for darker and grittier template for such movies riding on tough female roles.  

Story-arc

Benicio Del Toro plays Alejandro, a snake in the ranks joins Blunt and Brolin into low-life town named Juarez, riddled with inner drug warfare, affecting Americans and local populace.

Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro have the cards stacked in their favor, covertly in cahoots all-along. They stonewall questions, smirk on various occasions, sitting through torture sessions with apparent ease.

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Having unclear motives for their role in the drug war, Blunt’s frustration increases on being let on so little. Her take-charge attitude isn’t exactly Oscar worthy though, to be fair. 

Adding a palette of talented actors on his roster, Emily Blunt joins DEA chief Josh Brolin, to lead a Black-Ops assignment to hit the epicenter of Mexican drug cartel. Her role remains clouded during the entirety of the movie, until the grand finale. 

Daniel Kaluuya is an emerging actor with TV shows Black Mirror and Skins under his belt, appearing as Blunt’s partner, having a solid sense of humor with pure natural instinct. On the surface level, Sicario works well with splendid performances from the lead actors, but its throttling tempo lacks a higher purpose.

A word on Denis Villeneuve

With directorial heavyweights such as Enemy and Prisoners under his belt, Denis Villeneuve is working his way to the top with his next big project being Blade Runner reboot.

As opposed to being a typified textbook mission flick, the director weaves his own stylistic imprint, blending compelling story-telling along with picturesque landscape imagery in its fold.

It might be a crossover between Inception and The Shining. All the silence leads to an incoming storm (typified Hollywood cliché).

Sicario’s script descends into darkness meeting a haphazard drug cartel organization with a structured law enforcement agency, steering clear of moralistic aspects as well as clichéd good guy-bad guy routine. The end result is the casualty of human lives on both sides. 

The movie’s music score was composed by Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything). It complements the movie very well on the whole.