From director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Incendies) and writer Taylor Sheridan (best known for acting in Sons of Anarchy and Veronica Mars) comes Sicario which, if the blurb is to be believed, is “An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico”.
This is a pretty stellar cast that’s been assembled. Emily Blunt (Day After Tomorrow) plays the idealistic FBI agent, Benicio Del Toro plays a sort of lawyer-turned-hit-man-for-hire, Josh Brolin plays a CIA operative and Jon Bernthal (Fury, The Walking Dead) plays someone a little inconsequential, anyway, it’s a big cast.
Firstly, the good: throughout this film I was mesmerised by the directing and the photography. At the end it was easy to see why, the Director of Photography was the legendary Roger Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Jarhead, No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Skyfall and a million others). He dazzles with landscape shots from above and the whole movie will leave you visually amazed and it is very easy to see why he has an Oscar nomination.
The directing from Denis Villeneuve is very good too, helped in no small part by Mr. Deakins, but still it’s very adept. The night scenes towards the end are very well done, almost game like. Visually, the movie is fantastic.
Now, I’m afraid, the not so good. Emily Blunt, not a fan I’m afraid. I just can’t see her as this action woman Hollywood wants her to be, it just jars with me. There are a lot of other more than capable female action stars to choose from. Having said that however, I am glad to see a film with a female lead, but on the down side the character she plays is so weak and a little pathetic that it almost feels like a token gesture. She’s surrounded by lots of alpha males and testosterone and the character just isn’t strong enough to match them, and she’s even told as much by Del Toro at one point.
Del Toro is the best thing in the film by far. He’s menacing and walks the narrow line between “is he good or isn’t he” for long parts of the film. Brolin is good too but his character isn’t give much to do, just a bit of bravado occasionally and he does seem a little bored.
Also, big word of warning here, if, like me, you can’t stand the sound of people eating (I mean it really gets to me. I think I could perform unspeakable acts when people are eating loudly) then there are a few parts in this film which will really grind your gears! Brolin is usually chewing in every scene and, for some inexplicable reason, Blunts FBI partner, played by Daniel Kaluuya (Johnny English Reborn, Kick-Ass 2), starts eating an apple whilst they have a chat…I mean seriously!
So, in summary: visually brilliant, character not great (Del Torro is a lawyer who is now a gun-man for hire?), dialogue ok, story a little ‘meh’ and bring ear plugs if you don’t like the sound of people eating.