Strong women leads sometimes are few and far between in Hollywood, especially in a cast of men who are known for being strong themselves. That’s why Emily Blunt in Sicario is great and the movie itself intriguing and intense.
I like Sicario and so do a lot of people. The storyline is simple enough, a group FBI agents get ambushed in a raid and one of the survivors Kate Macer (Blunt) jumps at the opportunity to be a part of a task force that is going to make those responsible for the lost of her men pay (or so she thinks).
The movie as I mentioned earlier is intense especially thanks to strong performances. In particular, Alejandro, played by a dashing Benicio del Toro. Josh Brolin and Victor Garber also have prominent roles in this Ridley Scott film. Kate combats a lot of the male egotistical bull crap that most women have to go through at their jobs when working for a federal agency. In one scene towards the beginning of the movie, when she was being asked to be apart of the team, Brolin who plays Matt Graver asks her a series of questions that sexist and female specific and Uberly sexist. “Do you have children, are you married,” blah blah, blah, a line of questioning that is nothing short of condescending.
Despite that and other questionable things that members of the task force do, Kate stays positive and is determined to finish the mission. Her character is one that believes in the good that her position can do when everyone is on the same page and as the movie goes on, she quickly realizes that everyone is not on the same page. She is riveting because she projects herself as a bad ass that is self sufficient in every way, but in a moment of passion as she is in the heat of a make out session that clearly will lead to sex, there is a vulnerability she displays with great abandon. Of course, she is able to go right back into kick ass mode in an instant which further shapes her as relatable.
One of the central conflicts of the movie is a reoccurring theme- how much wrong is okay to do if it is in the fight for justice? Sicario really explores that narrative. Brolin plays his part to the T and when it comes to Del Toro as a no mercy assassin, all I could think was, “How is this just a character he is playing?” He embraced it that much.
Sicario also explores the many inner workings of the government and the anonymous situations that happen on a daily basis. Situations that are unknown to both members of the government and common, everyday citizens. I love movies that make you wonder about your reality and this one does that without a doubt.
The “war on drugs” is another central theme. In particular the movie focuses on the U.S. and Mexican border and all the activity that takes place there. A hot topic in today’s presidential race (among other places) it blows your mind, or at least id does mine, how things go down.
The unfolding of the story is steady and you don’t have to worry about getting bored. I don’t think that there is a scene in the movie where you think to yourself, “Okay how does this tie in” and it not tie in.
Kate and her idealistic views on crime and the government’s place in making sure it is stopped definitely changes over the course film. She goes from being willing to put everything on the line for what she believes in to succumbing, because who wouldn’t in her situation, to the will and powers of Gravers, carried out by Alejandro. And seeing the situation she is in and thinking about my actions if faced with the same decisions, I can’t blame her for the choice she makes. Which further shows her humanity.
The movie will have you guessing the whole time but don’t let wanting to know what’s going to happen next distract you from enjoying the story as it plays out on screen. Sicario is solid and it is worth seeing. I give it a solid A.
Film Review: ‘Sicario’
Reviewed at Dolby 88, New York, May 7, 2015. (In Cannes Film Festival — competing.) MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 121 MIN.
PRODUCTION: A Lionsgate release presented with Black Label Media of a Thunder Road production. Produced by Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonnell, Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill. Executive producers, John H. Starke, Erica Lee, Ellen H. Schwartz.
CREW: Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Screenplay, Taylor Sheridan. Camera (color, Arri Alexa HD, widescreen), Roger Deakins; editor, Joe Walker; music, Johan Johannsson; executive music producers, Tara Moross, Darren Blumenthal; production designer, Patrice Vermetter; supervising art director, Paul Kelly; art director, Bjarne Sletteland; set decorator, Jan Pascale; set designer, Ricardo Guillermo; costume designer, Renee April; sound (Dolby Digital), William Sarokin; sound designer, Tom Ozanich; supervising sound editor, Alan Robert Murray; re-recording mixers, John Reitz, Tom Ozanich; visual effects supervisor, Louis Morin; visual effects, Oblique FX, Fly Studio, Cinesite; special effects supervisor, Stan Blackwell; stunt coordinator, Keith Woulard; associate producer, Emma McGill; assistant director, Donald L. Sparks; casting, Francine Maisler.