Sicario is a film starring Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow), Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice) and Benicio del Toro (Traffic). It is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) and was written by Taylor Sheridan. The story follows an FBI agent (Blunt) and her immersion into the DEA’s investigation of drug cartels, both in the U.S. and over the border into Mexico.
In the film’s first moments it informs the audience that sicario is the Spanish word for “hitman.” This serves as a warning for the violence that comes almost immediately at the beginning of the film. The film is very cynical about the nature of the war on drugs in Mexico and the southern states. While I enjoyed Sicario very much, the almost overwhelming pessimism displayed in the film may not be every filmgoer’s cup of tea. French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve has proven himself again to be a great new filmmaker, with a distinctive visual style and pacing. The always-brilliant cinematographer Roger Deakins (who worked with Villeneuve on Prisoners) makes every shot look gorgeous. The acting is also top-notch. Brolin is dependably very good, and del Toro demonstrates a nice return to form. Blunt delivers a star-making performance; a very talented actress like her deserves her time to shine. The story is very solid if somewhat simple, and the greatness of the film lies within the way the story is told, with the acting, filming, editing and its commentary on its subject matter. There was a somewhat jarring genre shift towards a more Death Wish-esque, vigilante justice type film in the end scenes, but it ultimately works for the film. I would very much recommend Sicario.