Sunday, October 11, 2015
**** out of ****
Like Silence of the Lambs, a heavy thriller has been made about the real horrors of the world through the eyes of a beautiful young woman driven to venture into a man's world of darkness to hunt down monsters until the film knowingly shifts perspectives to allow us to see a monster's point of view. Aside from that cinematic association, I might compare this film with cynical seventies thrillers like The French Connection or other works that demonstrated how frustrating and unresolved most mysteries are when certain stones are turned.
It focuses on a young FBI agent (Emily Blunt), who after raiding a Cartel connected house in a Phoenix suburb, encounters a situation so shocking that she's hardly reluctant when recruited to a special retaliation driven task force, despite its questionable leaders. As she's kept annoyingly in the dark regarding the objective of their missions, her odd superiors discourage her from understanding everything but assure her that it will result in taking down the Cartel leadership, so long as orders are followed.
Sicario is a strong film filled with the tension and dread that its director Denis Villeneuve stirred in the 2013 film, Prisoners. With a deep booming score by Jóhann Jóhannsson and astounding cinematography by the great Roger Deakins, Sicario captures its desolate border country with awe and horror - and its stellar cast, which includes Daniel Kaluuya, Josh Brolin, Jon Bernthal, and Benicio Del Toro with lengthy shots and cuts respectful of their performances.
This is the kind of thriller that has built up so much potential energy, that it has no need to indulge in its violence. The trepidation we feel as our heroine continues to learn more disturbing facts, and continue through the movie's metaphorical and literal cave, leaves us fearing the inevitable savagery lurking around every corner. This is one of the 2015's best.