Although this is a limited released film that's slowly gaining box office numbers, there's no denying that the crime thriller 'Sicario' is becoming known as one of the best movies of the year. When I first saw the trailer it looked to be an action filled experience with tons of firefights between the FBI and the cartel. But when I saw it my first thoughts were: “That was surprisingly not that action-packed.”
That isn't to say I thought it was a bad movie, I just felt underwhelmed by it. Between the trailer and the 93 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, I was expected to walk out of the theatre pulling out my phone and strongly recommending it to all my friends. Instead, I went about my business and kept my thoughts to myself.
Now after doing some thinking, I realized how good the movie was. It was a case of what I call the “'Fury Road' Effect”. This is when you see a movie that you expect to completely blow your mind but instead you only think of it as just 'good'. But when you take time to break the movie down, you realize how amazing the movie was and love it more than you did before. (The reason I used the 'Mad Max' title is because that was the first movie to gave me that effect. Plus it has a nice ring to it.)
What makes it so phenomenal is that it's exploration of what happens when the line between law and crime is blurred. There's a scene where FBI agents gun down cartel thugs while crossing the border even thought they are out of their jurisdiction and there are tons of civilians around. Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) addresses this in a later scene but Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and the other FBI agents brush it off as just “doing their job”. The best part about this scene is how you realize that these are people who you expect to control the situation using diplomacy and minimal gunplay, but instead go in and shoot the guys up.
Another great thing about this movie is that it never explicitly states that Alejandro is a hitman. He works with the FBI and eventually goes off to do his own thing but all the film does is drop hints, making the viewer piece it together and come to their own conclusion.
In another scene Matt explains to Kate that their mission isn't to control the drug problem, but to restore power to the Colombian Cartel. That way there's some sort of order, even though the drugs will still make their way onto U.S. soil. During this time, Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro), the sicario (hitman), finds Fausto Alarcón, the man who murdered his family and kills his wife and two sons at dinner. Allowing him to feel that pain of loss and feeling of anger before finally putting Alarcón out of his misery. This makes the story all the more intriguing as it reveals a main character's agenda for revenge and you're never quite sure whether or not who the good guys are in the drug war.
The real kicker though, is at the end when Alejandro, tells Kate to sign a waiver stating that they did everything “by the book”. It gets to point where Alejandro points her own gun to her head, and, despite being a woman of honour, she signs it. As Alejandro leaves he's gives out the line that gets the wheels in one's head turning: “You should move to a small town, where the rule of the law still exists. You will not survive here. You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now.”
The message in this is quite simple. Kate has a high sense of honour, a trait that none of her colleagues have. If she tries to speak out against what they have done, they will turn on her like wolves turn on prey. She does try to prove to him that she can be a part of what's going on, by standing on the balcony of her apartment pointing the gun at him as he leaves. But when he turns around and looks at her she realizes that she can't do it and lets him walk. Indicating that who she is and what this job entails do not go hand-in-hand.
So there you have it. 'Sicario' may not be what one would consider an action-packed thriller, but it's a fantastic movie and I would highly recommend it.
So what did you think of 'Sicario'? Have you seen it? Comment down below or send me a tweet at @CanadaComicNerd. Also, if you want to read more, click right here!