By Cole Weinstein
“Sicario” is a film about local FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) who runs a hostage task force in Arizona. Macer is then recruited to join an elite government drug enforcement group that runs missions south of the border with the goal of finding infamous drug lord Fausto Alarcon. Leading this elite squad is carefree, but effective agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and mysterious lone wolf Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), a veteran of the drug wars. As Macer journeys deeper into the war on the cartel she begins to discover dark secrets and the true meaning of “Sicario”.
This film is absolutely phenomenal on every level; from Roger Deakins’ engrossing cinematography, to Jóhann Jóhannsson’s tense and dark score, this film sucks you in. The tension-filled direction by Denis Villeneuve, who has quickly become one of my favorite directors with brilliant films like Prisoners, Enemy, and Incendies, sends you on a journey to a dark, lonely, and disturbing place that only a Villeneuve film can.
“Sicario” is also filled to the brim with top-notch acting. Every character is believable and compelling. Josh Brolin is cast perfectly, playing a more heightened version of himself. He gives the performance only he could give with an almost Jack Nicholson-like quality to his character.
Benicio Del Toro is also phenomenal and gave one of the best performances of his entire career. He often steals the show from his other great castmates.
Emily Blunt gives a career-defining performance with many subtleties to her character. Blunt’s acting gives me a whole new level of appreciation for her skills. Her ability to carry a scene, even when not speaking, demonstrates her complex performance. Last year’s “Edge of Tomorrow” proved she could be an action star, but “Sicario” proves she is a movie star. It will be an absolute shame if she doesn't get an Oscar nomination. She gives my favorite performance of the year, thus far, by a mile.
The script, by first-time screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, is impressive, but not flawless like almost everything else in this film. My main issue is with the pacing in the second act. But, the third act, when it counts, is riveting.
There is no doubt that “Sicario” will be one of the best films of the year. It delivers in every way that a thriller should and in every way a film should. Yes, I have my subjective issues, but that doesn’t stop me from recommending this film to everyone. “Sicario” is worth the ticket price, so go support some great filmmakers and see a great film.
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