2015, Movies

Sicario (2015, Denis Villeneuve)

This is an extraordinarily tense and well-directed thriller about the escalation and increased militarization of the Ward on Drugs. For the most part, I really, really liked Sicario, but I struggled with something and I’m not sure whether or not it could have ended better.

SPOILERS

This is the rare American thriller that manages to balance the action we expect in an American thriller with a moral – though how clear that moral is, to the Joe Average American Theater Goer, I have no idea.

Blunt’s character is the moral conscience of the film, and act’s as the audience surrogate. What’s pretty great about the film is how her character is treated by the institutions she works for, and works to protect. Usually, in these types of films, the main character is more in control and that’s obviously a ridiculous fiction in any bureaucracy.

I like the way the film is shot – there are some really great shots in the film, and Villeneuve makes use of CCTV and night vision to add unconventional elements to the film to make it stand out even further. (Also, it’s paced super well and cut very well.)

And I like the soundtrack a lot. It’s intense without being intrusive and it drops out at key moments, which something I always appreciate.

For the most part, I think it’s a near-classic.

But then there’s the scene at the end of the film, where the title character holds a gun to Blunt’s character’s chin and threatens to fake her suicide. I worry that, at this point, the movie jumped the shark. I get what the film is trying to say: if the US government really is working with former cartel hitmen, they’re playing with fire and they are not better than the cartels. However, I don’t think that the War on Drugs is so far gone that this scene would actually occur in real life with the tacit (or explicit) permission of the CIA, after all Blunt’s character is a fucking FBI agent, not juts anyone. 

But if I put that scene aside, it’s a pretty great movie.

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