FILM REVIEW: Sicario
The word Sicario derives from the Mexican language, meaning ‘hitman’. I believe that the reason the film was not just called ‘Hitman’ is to avoid running the risk of people thinking that it would be another scandalous reincarnation of the popular video game series involving Agent 47 and his plight to rid the rest of the world of anyone who made any egg based comments in relation to his uniquely shaped head. My facts come from pure fantastical theory… but I like it.
When I first viewed the trailer for this film I had conflicting emotions. All the ingredients were there right in front of my face, the revered director, the pedigree actors, the underlying feeling of ‘oh Emily Blunt you perfect head, what kind of trouble have you got yourself into now’. But personally something didn’t sit right, Villeneuve’s filmography is a collection of beautifully crafted, character driven compositions, Sicario felt a tad hectic. With the aggressive approach of the trailer I was worried that the Prisoners director had decided to have a radical rethink of method and was using Sicario as a kamikaze LEEEEROY JENKINS moment. Anyway, I packed up my reservations and went to the screening in the hope I wouldn’t walk out with a feeling of disappointment.
I didn’t. Sicario is a brilliantly made tale of crime and corruption. Acting performances are stalwart and the whole film becomes an immersive journey into the depths of the American bureaucracy. A standout factor of the film is it’s menacing pacing, at no point does Sicario feel rushed, it tell it’s tale in its own damn time. Villeneuve used pacing to perfection with his film Prisoners, but that genre very much lent itself to that type of brooding tempo, trying to use that same unapologetic rhythm within a battle zone is a much harder task. His imagery is faultless, coupled with a perfectly executed score helps to induce the viewer into a deep state of concentration.
Emily Blunt’s character Kate plays the FBI agent thrust into a mission that goes deep beyond her jurisdiction and involves the upper echelons of the American constituency. Running the mission is Matt, performed by Josh Brolin, with the advisory help of Alejandro, played by Benecio Del Toro. Their objective; make as much noise as possible and ruffle the feathers of the Mexican cartel. There were moments it felt as if there were two films running adjacent to each other that would occasionally cross paths. The final act, although completely awesome in pretty much every way, really came out of nowhere and gave the whole film another layer of complexity.
Del Toro is superb in his role, as is Brolin, both fit seamlessly into their roles bringing a calm, relaxed, ‘just a day in the life’ attitude coupled with a ‘I could kill you at any point’ underlying tone. Emily Blunt’s character is a bit more complicated, undeniably a fantastic actress with such incredible scope of ability, her character just seems at time a bit helpless. This may be absolutely what Villeneuve is looking to achieve, to symbolize how helpless someone in her position truly is, in making a significant difference stopping organised crime. The film raises some very interesting political questions based on the American government that I could not even begin to comprehend, let alone answer.
For me, Sicario must be viewed in a cinema to really appreciate the power of the film. Del Toro and Brolin are fantastic but the real star of the show is the sheer cinematic stamp that Villeneuve puts on the film. Not many directors in the world could piece together such a film, balancing loud, brash and explosive scenes within calm, focused cinema. All in all I highly recommend going and watching Sicario, which will be released on the 2nd October, if you don’t, Emily Blunt might look you up… hunt you down… then not really do anything… then complain. Beware.