A rough and explicit but very infectiously paced thriller, Sicario (meaning “hitman” in Mexico) drags the audience into the violent fight between cartels and law enforcement somewhere between the Americas. Corruption and murder have spiralled out of control, leaving no clear sides and frontiers anymore. By joining forces with Mexican authorities and bringing in mercenaries Matt (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), the US government seeks to further reach into a sphere on which they’ve lost their grasp.
Young FBI agent Kate (Emily Blunt), who recently witnessed a merciless bloodshed on the US side of the border area, joins the newly recruited team to hunt down a Mexican drug lord and get down to the root of it, instead of wiping up what reaches the surface in the States. CIA advisor Matt, the seemingly careless but driven and uncompromising leader of the task force, leaves her in the dark about the mission’s real objective, and the moral ambiguity of the whole endeavour is epitomised by mysterious Alejandro who may work for them now, but may also work for different sides at other times. Their ways of overstepping limits of official procedure and jurisdiction question Kate’s sense of morality, but she’s assured that orders come from the highest echelons of the government.
Denis Villeneuve’s dark crime drama is filled with an awful lot of suspense and pushed by a driving, abysmal soundtrack that further increases a feeling of uneasiness and doubt. At any moment, an attack could come from everywhere. It’s a surprising choice to include this thriller in the Cannes competition; Sicario is not a conventional action movie, although there’s no lack of action happening onscreen. An explosion or shot fired is not appreciated as entertainment, but feels like defeat. Sicario shows only a glimpse into another world, but chooses a very violent one. To get to the main source of this war, we need to turn our attention towards a whole different venue, as is once indicated in the movie: as long as people want to smoke and snort drugs, this battle is bound to continue. Everyone is just interested in keeping it within and not beyond their respective control.
Sicario is released nationwide on 18th September 2015.
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