Denis Villeneuve is a bad man. His work (Prisoners) keeps me up at night, directing well-known actors in ways that we don’t expect or haven’t prepared our minds for. In Sicario, he shows us the world of the drug cartels through the eyes of ‘good guy’ Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), an FBI agent assigned to a task force aimed at bringing down the cartel. Sent across the Mexican border, she’s in a range of darkness she never realized existed before.
Honestly, I knew what I was getting into as soon as the dozens of body bags were found inside the walls of an Arizona home that could’ve been anywhere in the country. The cartel’s ruthlessness was sickening, and then stunning, under Villeneuve’s direction of Taylor Sheridan’s script. But while the fingerprints of further darkness showed smudges on the corners, the extent of this evil was just unfolding.
Macer joins Matt Graver’s (Josh Brolin) team of soldier/cop/assassins that also includes the shadowy Latino Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro). Both of these men manhandle Macer mentally and physically, but they also keep her out of harm’s way. She’s a good cop but she’s also naive to the way that this world works.
While exciting and thrilling, Sicario also proves to be gut wrenching. There are no winners here, decades after the origination of the drug war. As is pointed out, the drug wars and their danger on both sides of the border will never stop until people stop shooting up or smoking things that others have called illegal.
When you enter that darkness, even as a ‘good guy,’ the darkness is going to touch you, too.
Special features include a look at the visual design of the film, the origins of the story in reality and fiction, and the music. Fans will enjoy hearing from Blunt, Brolin, and Del Toro, but they’ll only care if somehow they’ve gotten their hearts to beat again after the ending.