An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Sicario” is a movie that will change your interpretation of what life in Mexico is really like. I’m not talking about the vacation hot spots such as Cancun and Cozumel, I’m talking about the real-life struggles normal, everyday people have to contend with on a daily basis; poverty, drugs and violence, to name but a few. Director Denis Villeneuve takes you behind the wall and shows you images and scenarios that most people on this side of the border will never have to witness and I can’t help but wonder, with just a 10-foot-tall primary fence separating the U.S. from Mexico, it’s not a matter of “if” the conflict south of us will escalate to this side but “when.”
Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is an ambitious FBI agent who is at the top of her game. Working a border town in Arizona she deals with illegal immigration and Mexican drug traffickers on a regular basis and witnesses her fair share of the expected violence that accompanies her job. When she is approached by a CIA operative named Matt (Josh Brolin), he offers her the chance to enlist with them and when informed that they will be going after the big guys in Mexico and that her talents as an agent in this field would be beneficial to all involved, she jumps at the chance, despondent that she can’t do more in her current position.
Along the way, she meets Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), a mysterious Colombian who is working in conjunction with the CIA and as the situations Kate constantly finds herself in, progressively become more violent and increasingly secretive, she begins to take matters into her own hands and only then, does she realize the true motivation behind the CIA’s excursions into Mexico and must fight to escape with her life. Going into this movie I had no idea on what to expect as I stayed away from knowing too much in advance and I left the theater feeling awestruck. “Sicario” is absolutely astonishing and is filled with first-rate performances and ingenious direction.
Roger Deakins is one of the finest cinematographers working in film today and he gives “Sicario” a surreal ambience, almost as if what you’re watching isn’t real but at the same time, creates authentic and realistic images that you don’t want to believe can happen in real life. Emily Blunt, who was so tenacious and headstrong in “Edge of Tomorrow” with Tom Cruise, here brings an emotional depth to her character that allows you to absorb everything that she is experiencing and unlike many of the strong female characters in movies today, Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, who at times perform unrealistic feats of heroism, Blunt’s Kate responds to everything going on around her with utmost realism and believability.
Benicio Del Toro is both menacing and sympathetic, not an easy feat but when you finally comprehend what drives him to do the things he does, you completely understand and this is what makes him such a terrific actor. Because of this, he gives one of his finest performances in years. Josh Brolin’s Matt was the most underdeveloped character in the movie, while he is arrogant and presumptuous and you never really know what’s going on with him, it’s the kind of part that Mr. Brolin could play in his sleep and it made me wonder how he might have fared had he taken on the part of Alejandro instead. “Sicario” is that rare movie that encompasses elements of authentic action and drama and fuses them together seamlessly and there’s not many filmmakers in the world today that can pull off an accomplishment like that.
In select theaters September 25th
For more info about James visit his website at www.IrishFilmCritic.com