Director: Denis Villeneuve
Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro
Synopsis is here:
Higgins: “No. Absolutely not. We have games. That's all. We play games. What if? How many men? What would it take? Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a regime? That's what we're paid to do.”
- Three Days of Condor (1975)
Ice Cube: “You get AK’s from Russia and Cocaine from Columbia.”
Eazy E: “And
ain’t none of us got a passport! So you might wanna check the
- Straight Outta Compton (2015)
Underground Rapper Immortal Technique could have conceived an album based on the narrative
curveballs that Denis Villeneuve’s crime drama
spins towards its viewer. It’s a film which not only firmly cements
Villeneuve’s recurring theme of personal, insular prisons, but once again
highlights that such prisons tickle down from the larger containment. In
Villeneuve’s twisted doppelganger humdinger; Enemy (2013), this involved the
sticky webbed influence of Spiders. Here in Sicario, we’re asked to pry apart
the tenacious strands of the drug trade, which have been weaved between North
and South America.
This tightly wound production falls into a similar camp as A Most Violent Year (2014). The moral structures that our lead character; Kate (A passive, but seething Emily Blunt) begin to deteriorate and crumble to show how much of a fallacy the lines of the law really are. No one is to be trusted and the long arm of the law is cracked and fractured in several places. We keenly observe this in the opening shots, were swat teams operate a high risk
manoeuvres while neighbours take dogs on their afternoon walks. In the lead up to one of Sicario’s more tense
sequences, mutilated bodies hang freely under intersection freeways, while
locals nonchalantly play squash in the next street. Good? Bad? In the world of
Sicario, it just is.
Much is owed to Roger Deakins cinematography. His control of light and shadow is effortless, as is his ability to clarify the imagery to augment the message.
Sicario holds wide shots which isolate Blunt’s Kate both outside
and inside government structures which she suddenly feels alien to. The Star
Spangled Banner gloatingly hovers over or behind her while she argues her case.
So much for what she considers as the American way. By the time we get to the
third act, which involves locating border tunnels, we’re viewing images in
inferred camera Inverting colour into blurred monochrome shades of gray. We are
literally in the dark with little awareness of who the villains are, even
though the team have gone in as friends.
It’s easy to argue that Sicario comes at a time where the competition doesn’t feel as stiff as previous eras. It’s not a typical period piece or biopic that fares so well during the Oscars. But that doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Sicario not only throbs and pulses like it’s near elemental
soundtrack. Its brutally precise execution of its themes, sit in the pit of the
stomach like a block of ice. Denis Villeneuve confronts the subject with the
same dynamic fortitude that makes Sicario stand tall with similar features of
its ilk. For this blogger, this is one of the year’s best.