Denis Villeneuve’s thriller “Sicario” grabs your full attention in the first minute and never lets you go, until the last breathless scene is done. Even then, images stay in your head.
The war on drugs waged by the American security agencies against the Mexican dealers forms the central plot. Emily Blunt plays the everywoman character who follows Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin into dangerous and morally ambiguous territory.
Daniel Kaluuya and Victor Garber are both utterly terrific, in smaller parts.
Of course, this material has been covered before. But Blunt brings us right into the heart of the action. We feel what is happening through her responses.
Villeneuve is an expert at creating suspense and tension. Every bit of the music, look and acting in this is designed to provoke us and make us take a stand.
Taylor Sheridan’s script allows the visuals to dominate the story. Roger Deakins did the photography for Villeneuve’s “Prisoners” and his work here makes me feel slightly less annoyed that they are remaking “Bladerunner” together. Maybe that will be okay?
Johann Johannsson has written a creepy soundtrack. Honestly, the tunes are more chilling than you might imagine.
At 120 minutes, it’s a long, tense ride. But you’ll be talking about the choices here long after the credits roll. And I really like the way that Villeneuve makes you think and react, even when you’re whooshing along the road in an epic car chase.
I have two serious concerns. I fear there may be an anti-Mexican attitude at work here and I dislike the way an attempted rape scene is depicted.
Villeneuve pushes the viewer way beyond a comfort zone. Is he going too far here, to make his point? And I can see several points here but are they different enough from what we know?
I love to think. And “Sicario” gives me plenty of food for thought and conversation.