From the dude who brought us such bleak hits like Incendies and Prisoners comes one of the most disturbing movies of the year. Sicario is directed by Denis Villeneuve. In it, Emily Blunt is sent in to help Josh Brolin and Hispanic Brad Pitt Benicio del Toro track down a mysterious drug lord.
Although the story is a bit light, it certainly feels anything but. This is one instance where story plays second fiddle. Sicario isn’t for the faint of heart as we get to see some pretty fucked up shit during the beginning… it only gets worse. It’s a slow movie but it spends its run time building tension and if you thought those Joe Pesci scenes from Goodfellas were insane then Sicario is that on steroids.
Emily Blunt gives a great performance as Kate Macer, someone who’s a bit different from the usual strong female characters we’ve seen her portray in movies like Looper and Edge of Tomorrow. Josh Brolin is… interesting and a bit unpredictable at times. He’s a weakest character writing-wise as we don’t get where he’s really coming from even if he does lay it all out for us. Benicio del Toro shines in a brilliantly realized beast of a man named Alejandro Gillick and similar to Josh Brolin’s character, we don’t really get who he is but unlike Brolin’s character, we totally get Del Toro. They’re even gonna base a sequel on Alejandro. This is a clear sign that you should totally be paying attention to him during awards season.
Although the lot of us really didn’t like the second season of True Detective, Sicario is everything that True Detective was trying to be. The movie’s atmosphere feels completely hopeless. As we get characters from one place to another there’s going to be a strong sense of “holy shit, I have a very bad feeling about this, you guys” vibe going on. This is further amplified the night terror-inducing music of Jóhann Jóhannsson (known for his heart-warming score for The Theory of Everything).
One big mention is the cinematography that was shot by Roger Feakin’ Deakins (True Grit, Skyfall, Prisoners) who’s somehow (with his sorcery) was able to capture the dynamics of radiant sunshine and the darker-than-hell night time scenes with stunning results. There were several parts that were shot in almost pitch darkness and you can just barely see and know exactly what’s going on. Even though it nothing close to torture porn, it makes me want to go home and take a long bath.
Sicario isn’t for people who want to leave the movies feeling okay. In fact, you’re not going to feel okay… not for a very long time. It has a bit of a generic story with some characters that weren’t juggled too well. But everything else from the acting and direction to its cinematography and atmosphere were executed by the hands of masters.