Sicario is a visceral and intense thriller from director Denis Villeneuve, director of 2013’s drama thriller, Prisoners and last year’s cerebral and surreal thriller, Enemy. It’s safe to say then that Villeneuve knows a little bit about how to construct a good thriller, and that is exactly what he does here.
Emily Blunt, continuing her action streak from Edge of Tomorrow but with a much darker edge, plays FBI agent Kate Macer who is deep in the world of the war on drugs.
We’re thrown straight into a deeply disturbing opener in which Macer and her team uncover some 15 bodies hidden in the walls of a Mexican cartel during a raid. During the raid an explosive is uncovered, which kills members of Macer’s team.
Keen to see the culprits brought to justice, Macer joins a task force alongside the DEA in order to eradicate the drug cartel network of Manuel Diaz, even though she’s not entirely sure of what the mission objective is.
Josh Brolin and Benecio Del Toro round out the cast as Matt Graver and Alejandro. Del Toro’s character is brought in, somewhat mysteriously, as a ‘consultant’ from Columbia whom Macer believes to be CIA.
The whole film is shrouded in mystery, which the audience must pick apart piece-by-piece. We are brought into the story alongside Macer, whose occasional naivety as to what exactly is going on reflects our own confusion.
The film captivates from the get go and I was gripped by this intense delving into the underbelly of the cartel landscape.
Blunt leads this all-star cast in a role that the studios wanted to be played by a man – had this been the case I think Sicario would not be receiving the plaudits its garnered – fortunately Villeneuve stuck to his guns and Blunt does a superb job as the ‘woman in a man’s world’ and completely holds her own.
Sicario is a visceral experience that builds tension all the way through and keeps you on the edge of your seat, despite treading not entirely unfamiliar ground.
The cinematography is spectacular, particularly during a nighttime sequence in the desert in which we witness the action through night vision POV shots.
I wasn’t perhaps as enthralled as anticipated from the hype but overall Sicario serves as gripping thriller with very strong central performances all round.
Sicario is out in cinemas now