If there is one director that has continued to impress me with his filmmaking, it’s Denis Villeneuve, director of Prisoners and the 2015 suspense thriller, Sicario. Villeneuve has an eye for artistic, but slick filmmaking, keeping you engaged throughout the film.
Sicario stars Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin & Benicio Del Toro. It’s a thrilling film about taking down a large drug cartel in Mexico, with the help of the FBI and a government task force agency. Written by Taylor Sheridan (Sons of Anarchy), with cinematography from the brilliant 13-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins (Skyfall, Prisoners, True Grit), Sicario is one of the best films of 2015 that deserved more rep for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Thankfully, Roger Deakins has been nominated for cinematography, composer Jóhann Jóhannsson for original score, & also Alan Robert Murray for sound editing.
Kate Macer (Blunt) is one of the top FBI agents in the US, taking down the drug cartel members in the USA. After a deadly mission, leaving two police offices dead, Macer is enlisted by a government task force agency, led by Matt Graver (Brolin), to help take down the drug cartel in Mexico. The FBI director Dave Jennings (played by Victor Garber) warns Macer to fully think about the mission, but she accepts right away if it means taking down the people in charge of the two police officer deaths.
Kate, Matt & the team head out to Texas to begin planning, along with a mysterious man, Alejandro (Del Toro). Kate has her eye on Alejandro and is wondering where the heck he came from or what’s his title. She also figures out that when they arrive in Texas to prepare to head into Mexico, that no one is telling her what is really going on or what the point of her is being there.
As the team heads into Mexico, things get pretty heated right away at the border security, but to Mexico, this is just another normal day in life. As the team, along with Kate, try to track down the man in charge of the large drug cartel operation, Kate starts to learn more and more secrets about Alejandro, along with the reason to her being in the mission.
Emily Blunt gives a superb performance as this tough, but also very emotional woman. It reminds me a bit of a performance that Jessica Chastain would give, similar to Zero Dark Thirty. Blunt has definitely been robbed during the award season, as this is one of her best performances.
Benicio Del Toro is also a standout in this film, giving this mysterious performance that keeps you guessing until the end. He, too, should have been nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, as this is his best work since the 2000 film Traffic, another drug-themed film.
As for the direction, Denis Villeneuve’s work is sleek and engaging. He captures every moment with this gritty-like vision, and then combines it with Roger Deakin’s brilliant cinematography. I just cannot get over how well the two work together on films. Then you add in Taylor Sheridan’s excellent screenplay & Jóhann Jóhannsson’s haunting score, and you have an eye-opening film about the drug problem in Mexico. It really starts to make you think about how much of the stuff we probably do not see.
Sicario is a brilliant thriller thanks to Villeneuve, Blunt & Del Toro. It’s probably one of the most overlooked films of 2015 and should have deserved more attention. I was captivated by every scene and could definitely watch it again. Rated R.