FILM: Sicario (2015)

“You’re asking me how the watch is made. For now, just keep your eye on the time.” – Alejandro

Sicario is a thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro.

The script by Taylor Sheridan redirects the spotlight away from the crises overseas and points it a little closer to home i.e. the U.S.-Mexico border. We see this world through the eyes of Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), a rookie FBI agent, as she discovers the threat of the Mexican cartel is more real then ever. She is then recruited by an elite group of government operatives to put a stop to the cartel’s dealings at the source.

The film is visually breathtaking. Beautifully composed shots of the U.S. and Mexican landscapes interleave the runtime, further proving the exceptional talents of cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall).

Benicio Del Toro’s mysterious Alejandro was the real highlight of the film, however. He is introduced as a consultant to the mission but we soon realise that there is a lot more to him than that. The less said about the character, the better.

Conversely, the character of Kate Macer was handled relatively poorly. She is initially painted as a strong-willed and dimensional character who has no idea of what she is getting into, but she never moves beyond that. Any time she chanced upon a moment to stand up for herself she was almost immediately put down by her male equivalents. It can be argued that her naivety is a reflection of the audience as we only learn things about the mission when she does, but some moments involving her reached ‘damsel in distress’ territory. Furthermore, the last act of the film completely switches focus to another character, which was slightly grating.

To put it briefly, Sicario is a polarising film that might be appreciated more by some upon a second viewing. It felt more like a really well made TV pilot. It set up an interesting world and raised some questions but left me expecting the token Netflix countdown to the next episode as the credits rolled.

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