Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Written by Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Victor Garber
Sicario is a tense, suspenseful crime thriller set amongst the world of the Mexican drug cartels, and a film that is Oscar caliber all around. Villeneuve directs the film wonderfully. The film is full of tension, twists, and turns that keep you actively engaged in the movie and on the edge of your seat. To quote, A.O. Scott “Plenty of directors make violent movies. Denis Villeneuve makes movies about violence”. The fascinating thing about Sicario and of Villeneuve’s direction of the film is that Sicario is a violent film that contains no flashy, or overwrought violent set pieces. Sicario lives in the spaces prior to, and the aftermath of violence. Villeneuve certainly understood what Alfred Hitchcock meant when he said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” The tensest scenes in Sicario where the scenes built around the expectation of violence, not the violent scenes themselves.
Aside from Villeneuve’s direction the cast in the film was stellar. Del Toro is a commanding presence whenever he is on screen, and he is intense and terrifying when he needs to be. Blunt’s character is the character who is the vehicle for exploring the aftermath of violence. Throughout the film, Blunt is slowly broken by the violent world surrounding the drug cartels and the war on drugs. On top of the sundae that is the cast and direction of Sicario is the exquisite cinematography of Roger Deakins. Deakins uses the landscape of the American Southwest to his full advantage. Using the Southwestern United States and the drug war as a backdrop this crime thriller feels, and for that matter looks very much like a western. In fact, cartel/drug war crime thrillers set in the American Southwest whether it is this movie, Traffic or Breaking Bad are very much contemporary westerns. Replace old western outlaws with drug lords and the sheriff with the DEA and FBI.
Sicario is a film that excels with an excellent cast, brilliant direction, and beautifully shot. Villeneuve’s Sicario is an outstanding addition to the tradition of the cinematic crime drama. Sicario receives 4.75/5.