Film Review: Sicario

“Welcome To Juarez…”

Back in early January when Denis Villeneuve’s mind-warping thriller Enemy was released, it began a spur of excitement towards a director who although had already began to make waves to a wider audience with Prisoners, was quietly going under the radar making enthralling and, against the norm of the money-making syndicate that is Hollywood in the 21st century, intelligent works of art. If Enemy left me with a sense of sheer fright at the sight of its’ ever so creepy final scene, then Villeneuve’s latest Sicario takes it up a notch, and then some, with Villeneuve not in any way being tempted to resort to the crash-bang-wallop of recent thrillers deriving from the US, which although may result in a stack load of money, usually ends up being particularly forgettable piles of tripe in the long run, something of which cannot be said of Sicario, a film so enriched in tension and threat that if it were not for it being advertised as being a stone-cold thriller, could easily be regarded as a first-class horror, designed to tickle the senses from head to toe.

When a kidnapping raid in Chandler, Arizona goes horrendously wrong, FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt, Looper, Edge of Tomorrow) is quickly tasked with the shady, if enigmatic, Department of Defense adviser Matt Graver (Josh Brolin, No Country For Old Men, Everest) in an attempt to dismantle the enraging cartel activity behind the raid’s failure, During her venture into the ambiguous nature of her involvement with Graver, Macer comes into contact with his partner, Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro, Traffic, Sin City) a silent and secretive agent who is reluctant to share his involvement in the operation, Delving deeper and deeper into the heart of gangland territory, Kate begins to suspect that all is not what it seems with her life becoming more and more in danger the deeper she treads into the real objectives of both Graver and Gillick. Sound gripping? And oh boy is it, with not one, but three set pieces in particular within Sicario actually managing to make my heart beat at a higher rate than normal, something of which hasn’t occurred since maybe Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, a dark and mysterious thriller/horror that has many positive links with Villeneuve’s latest, with both featuring an engrossing story that forgets the spoon-fed nature of a mass audience and instead focuses on natures both ambiguous and unknown.

The three set pieces? A congested motorway. A pitch black tunnel. A last supper. All scenes in which silence is played upon to the extreme and tension is rammed up to the max, helped significantly by top-of-their-game acting from the three main leads in the form of Blunt, Del Toro, and Brolin, all of whom should regard Sicario as a true statement of their own individual acting pedigree with Blunt’s portrayal as the ambitious and rather curious Macer a true indication of her diverse acting ability (Into The Woods, The Devil Wears Prada). Stars of the show however belong to both Del Toro as the incredibly stone-cold Gillick, his best role in years, and cinematographer Roger Deakins, the Devon-born artist who even though after doing brilliant work on The Shawshank Redemption, Skyfall, and basically the entire Coen Brothers back catalogue, has still failed to win an Oscar, may finally get his chance to proclaim supremacy with his latest offering. Take it from me, Sicario looks beautiful with Deakins’ work effectively adhering to and empowering the dark and deadly nature of the film’s atmosphere resulting in a film that isn’t just your everyday thriller, its’ a film laced with horror tropes from start to finish and ultimately results in one leaving the cinema both shaking in fear and gawping in amazement, a solid thumbs up in anyone’s opinion.

Overall Score: 9/10

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Posted on 10/10/2015, in Film & TV, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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