Everything about Sicario just works. Bold statement? Sure, maybe. But that’s how I feel. Director Denis Villeneuve–working off a screenplay by Taylor Sheridan–crafts a tense thriller featuring a cast that does not phone in a single line reading. The film is so good looking I want to spend some quality time alone with it gazing upon its beauty. This is thanks to ace cinematographer Roger Deakins. The editing by Joe Walker and the score — oh my that score — by Jóhann Jóhannsson is almost too gorgeous to be allowed.
The film is about an FBI agent named Kate (Emily Blunt) who is encouraged to volunteer for some sort of task force headed by Matt (Josh Brolin) who in turn is assisted by the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). They drive into Mexico to pick up a man with drug cartel connections. They commit acts of violence across the border. They leave Kate and her partner Reggie (Daniel Kaluuya) in the dark about what they are actually doing, and they all uncover some grim stuff along the way.
When Matt’s plan is finally unveiled and put into play it is quite the masterwork in terms of moving chess pieces around on a cross border board with the singular aim of damaging the business of drugs. Of course none of the methods employed by the ‘good’ guys would pass muster in anything resembling politically correct or civilized society. Perhaps that’s the point of the film and it is a point that is made in a chillingly effective manner.
This movie looks great, sounds amazing, and is peopled by actors who inhabit their characters to such an extent that I am going to think of Emily Blunt as a worried–often scared–but totally bad-ass woman; I’m going to be made extremely nervous by Josh Brolin’s laugh and I’m going to greet Benicio Del Toro with a discreet namaste before running as far and as fast as I can, while zigging when I should zag the whole way.
Most relevant to me personally is that this movie is the latest piece of proof that a good looking, and sounding, movie is possible if one is able to marshal enough of the right resources in the service of telling a story. Which hasn’t always been the case with my own misadventures in filmmaking. So Mr. Villeneuve’s achievement has given me hope for my own future.
This is a film totally worth watching on the big screen. Hell this movie is so grown up, it can only be watched on a big screen. Check it out the first chance you get.