“In Mexico SICARIO means HITMAN”
‘Sicario’ is an Action Thriller / Crime Drama that follows an FBI agent who gets thrown into a war against the drug cartels operating along the border of the US and Mexico. Apart from the stellar cast leading the film, i was most excited to see this film because of it being directed by Denis Villenueve. For those of you who don’t know, he directed 2013’s ‘Prisoners’ and 2014’s ‘Enemy’, both are incredibly fantastic films that were directed to near perfection and you should definitely check out. This was still a fantastically directed film by Villenueve, but compared to those films i just mentioned, this one has many other flaws that didn’t make it quite as intense as i hoped it would be from seeing the trailers. If you are looking for a fast paced, high octane action thriller, this is not it. Much like his previous films, this is a very character driven story where the film at times is carried on the backs of the amazing performances by Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. Despite these praises, there are elements of the film that i didn’t enjoy and harmed my overall experience with the film.
The film started off very promising, it showed off some some of the thriller elements whilst also introducing our characters and the main overall plot of the film which was pretty meh up until the last third of the film. I was initially intrigued by what was going on and wanted to find out more about what is really going on behind the scenes, especially with Del Toro’s character. But for almost the entire second act of the film, i found myself checking my phone a few times because it dragged on and on and didn’t look to be ending any time soon. It had some short moments that were quite interesting in terms of character development and getting me a little more interested in the plot. But overall, the second act wasn’t all that compelling to watch like the rest of the film was. I feel like they tried to do a lot to set up the finale, and just the way it was structured became an issue for me. A lot of scenes didn’t quite make sense and took me out of it a bit. It all ran at a fairly slow pace which i was expecting but there were no dramatic or intense tones to get me engaged with what was going on, apart from one or two moments. A lot of this middle section relied purely on the performances of Blunt, Brolin, and Del Toro, and even though they were fantastic it wasn’t enough to make me enjoy this section. It’s hard to explain, but just a lot of the writing in this section looks and sounds good on paper, but the execution wasn’t great.
That being said, the last 30 minutes of this movie……. SPECTACULAR. Not going to give anything away but shit hits the fan from a storytelling standpoint, a character standpoint and an action thriller standpoint and this really saved the film for me. All of the little bits and pieces that were set up throughout the film come full circle and you realise a lot of things that maybe didn’t make sense earlier make total sense now, such as ‘why is the film even called Sicario?……. **You know what, stuff this, i’m gonna revoke some of the things i have mentioned so far MID REVIEW but not edit it out, because thinking about the end, and then thinking about what happened earlier is making me realise that this film was a lot smarter and well crafted than i thought it was 5 minutes ago. I obviously can’t talk about any of the things i am thinking about, but this is probably going to make me watch it again like i did with ‘Prisoners’ and ‘Enemy’, and i reckon i might enjoy it more the second time, only time will tell.
But as i mentioned before, the performances of Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro were all absolutely fantastic. I am not necessarily surprised because they are all incredible actors but in this film when they came together no-one took anything away from the others’ performances. One did stand out well above the others but it didn’t make me love the other performances less, if anything each performance added to the others. There is also quite a bit of talent in the supporting roles but due to the scope of these three large actors always commanding the screen they will most likely go largely unnoticed.
In the end, Sicario is a film that definitely not everyone will appreciate. It is more than an action thriller and incorporates great amounts of drama, and plenty of intense moments. The second act of the film whilst watching it did really hurt my enjoyment of the film in the moment, but as i mentioned, it didn’t bother me nearly as much and i actually now praise some of the decisions they made. If you like Villenueve’s previous films this one is not quite up to par but you can still see a lot of his signature all over this film and that is what i enjoyed about it.