Sicario - directed by the extremely talented Denis Villeneuve, acclaimed from works such as Prisoners (2013) and Enemy (2013), and stars Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro. Sicario revolves around a talented F.B.I. agent who embarks on a government operation to aid the war on drugs in an infamous town located near the U.S. and Mexican border.
The screenplay written by Taylor Sheridan, a writer that I'm not entirely familiar with may have just put a huge stamp on the film industry with this masterfully suspenseful picture. I don't think a script so far this year has left me hanging after every word each character says in hopes to truly understand what is going on - but in a good way. During the rising action of the film, Emily Blunt is sent to Mexico on a mission of which she has no clue what it consists of or what the government need from her, resulting in no more than a fresh faced woman on the streets of a town ruled by the cartel, blind, confused and terrified. Throughout the whole film you feel as though you are totally aligned with Emily Blunt's character, whenever she is angered due to the shady behaviour of the government, terrified of the cartel or ultimately suspicious over her supposed comrades, you feel the same at the same time, forcing you to hang on every word each character says to try and get a better understanding of why Emily Blunts character is there. A carefully constructed and misleading script is definitely one of the best things about this film, a strong first and second act truly leave you with a harsh and true insight into the war against drugs.
Roger Deakins, a cinematic genius of shooting a film. The 12 time Oscar nominee added another gem in his chest with this beautiful looking film. This film alongside Mad Max: Fury Road is the best looking film so far this year, surpassing the extremely well shot films such as The Martian and Everest, two fantastic looking films but not quite to the level of Sicario. Each individual shot is a genuine work of art. When it comes to character framing or lighting you name it, this film ticks all the boxes visually. The action sequences are also shot to perfection, some of the most intense and attractive gun and hand to hand combat scenes are complimented by masterful framing and smooth swift camera movement.
Another thing that I loved about Sicario, is its sound editing. The score that you hear in the trailer being played full blast as the one of the key scenes is taking place gave me goosebumps. As the opening credits open, a slow and silent drumming begins and results in a powerful and fast paced drumming as the opening scene builds up. The soundtrack is definitely worth checking out, besides the acting the sound is perhaps the main contributor to the films incredible suspense.
Emily Blunt established herself as a brilliant and strong supporting actress in Edge of Tomorrow (2014), especially as an action hero. But this film however could determine if she can carry a film on her performance, and she has now proved that she absolutely can. Emily Blunt is simply electric, her fear and anger at the government is portrayed by some incredible method acting and emotional scenes. But she's not the type to just sit by and let her government take advantage of her, she actually does something and puts her life at risk to save others and truly find who and what is behind this whole operation, something that is different within female roles. Benicio del Toro is the best he's ever been in Sicario, he fully deserves a nomination for his performance and almost steals the show. His vague and mysterious character has you wondering through the whole film whose side he's on...As well as Josh Brolin's character, whom from the very first shot of the film you have your doubts about his motives. Sicario has fantastic performances throughout the entire film, all three stars deserve at least an Oscar nomination.
Sicario's downfall however, has to be its cartel side of the story. Although the criminals in the film were terrifying visually, the leaders of the cartel that are being hunted I felt should have been fleshed out as characters rather than just targets, this would have built a greater audience response in the films resolution. As del Toro and Brolin were taking out cartel leaders I felt almost as if I didn't care, and its that fault which really lead the finale of the film to be a huge disappointment. The sole antagonist which was the cartel itself really wasn't anything great, as they weren't fleshed out as genuine characters, just people put there to be shot at.
Sicario is cerebrally and psychologically a suspenseful film with fantastic performances and the best cinematography I've seen this year. But its third act lets the film down in my opinion due to its lack of antagonists and ones that have been fully fleshed out as characters.