Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Film: 'Sicario'

Few could deny that this film is a cut above most, though I don't go all the way with the many adulatory opinions being heaped upon it, which was the chief reason for me going out of my way to catch it.

Grim throughout with highly suspenseful episodes and graphic violence at several points (much of which is actually off-screen or in long-shot, though not all), we have Emily Blunt as an FBI agent seconded onto a military squad trying to wipe out a long-standing  drug-smuggling operation from over the Mexican border. She represents, in effect, the film's 'conscience' working with (or fighting against?) the seemingly callous attitudes and conduct of her all-male colleagues, chief amongst whom is Josh Brolin. Riding along with them is the mysterious and taciturn Benicio Del Toro participating in the operations but holding himself at a distance at key moments, and whose real aims are revealed later in the film. No real surprise at that.

Their are a few grisly sights, particularly near the start, after which the the film concentrates on the mechanics of the operation to obliterate the drug-smuggling route and finding and disposing of the gang leader(s) operating it.

Canadian director Denis Villeneuve keeps the screws tightened for virtually the whole film, though it's clear that any moments of relaxation from the suspense will follow the well-tried formula of being followed by a sudden, highly-charged event, or a tense sequence complete with thrumming, menacing bass music background.
One reviewer in particular has made much of a traffic jam episode which, though effective, found left me expecting something rather more exciting than I found it.

One of the personal difficulties I had with it, which many will not share, is the casting of Emily Blunt. Fine actress though she undoubtedly is, in my mind she carries the 'baggage' of earlier successful films she's made, most notably 'Young Victoria', and all through this film my mind kept nudging me that this was that youthful queen. Not her fault, I know. That film was six years ago, and she's made quite a number since then, including 'Into the Woods'. But I found myself unable to dismiss the constantly recurring thought of her portraying royalty, such that whenever she swore in 'Sicario' it sounded more outlandish than it ought to have done. I'll agree to put this down to my own little, though unfortunate, quirk. 

I did think this was a powerful film overall but it's not one that will ingrain itself on my memory as much as some other recent thrillers have done...............................6.5.


  1. Humm on reflection i agree with your review Raymondo
    Its a worthy film, but not an enjoyable one

    1. I recall your own very positive review, J.G. of a couple of weeks ago, and that was one that made it a must-see for me, though not the only one.
      It's serious fodder but not much more than that. If one thinks beyond the violence, some of which was very graphic and distressing indeed, it struck me as a fairly routine film, though still 'superior' routine.