ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

This is the best "hunt the drug cartel" movie of 2015. Of course, I think it's also the only one.

1. This is one of those movies that, when people ask me if I liked it, I say "It's decent." It didn't suck, and it wasn't great.

2. It's about an FBI agent named Kate, who does SWAT missions to rescue kidnapped people. One mission seems to have been orchestrated by a Mexican drug cartel, and Kate volunteers to join a Delta Force team that's hunting the cartel.

3. The movie is not as complicated as it tries to be. There are some very obvious and predictable elements. Every now and then characters will explain what's going on to other characters, so if you are falling behind, you can catch back up.

There are some great individual scenes, but when you get down to it, this is your basic "we operate beyond the law, and by the way, I wonder if anybody on this team is a traitor or a CIA spy" movie.

4. For a movie with a title that translates into "Hitman", there aren't very many hits. It's punctuated with violence, but it's not 2 hours of action. The most grisly part of the movie is actually the opening scene.

5. Emily Blunt (from Looper and Edge of Tomorrow) gives a great performance as Kate. Benicio del Toro somehow manages to turn all of his characters into bad-asses, and he does it here, too, playing a former lawyer. Josh Brolin is really good at playing douchebags, and he brings that talent to his role as adviser to the Delta Force.

6. The movie was directed by Denis Villaneuve, a French-Canadian dude that directed two of my favorite movies of 2013, Prisoners and Enemy. Sicario doesn't have the same punch (or weirdness) as those other two, but it is easier to understand.

7. The people that financed the movie originally wanted the script to have a male lead, not a female lead. Villaneuve fought them, and won.

8. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards (but none of the big ones). One of its nominations is for Best Cinematography. The camera work is much more interesting and beautiful than you usually get in movies like this.

9. If you're in the mood for a drug cartel movie, this one fits the description. It hits the right spots at the right times, even though none of the spots are especially great. It's decent.

What did you think? Did the movie work? Did it surprise you? Add some points below!


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