Enter my movie of the year…
This dark and broody drug cartel thriller – which is Michael Mann’s Heat crossed with Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic – joins the likes of Birdman, A Theory of Everything and The Martian among 2015’s elite.
This simply oozes class from every pore, with sensationally tense and visceral set-pieces, a compelling and taut script, superb cinematography and breathtaking central performances from the cast – particularly British starlet Emily Blunt (The Edge of Tomorrow) and Benicio Del Toro (The Usual Suspects).
Idealistic FBI agent Kate Macer (Blunt) is drawn into this world after ‘scratching’ the surface of this on-going war when it reaches the American side of the border in Texas and Arizona. After finding dozens of dead bodies in a house she joins a government-led team that includes mysterious leader Matt Graver (an always competent Josh Brolin) and his shady associate Alejandro (Del Toro), that aims to ‘ruffle a few feathers’ across the border to let the drug barons know America isn’t going to accept these actions lightly.
But this uneasy alliance gets blown wide open after an eye-opening trip to the Mexican town of Juarez – complete with fantastic border bridge stand-off scene – and Macer soons realises she is an extremely little fish in a very big pond, as the lines between right and wrong become more blurred.
Sicario – the Spanish word for hit-man by the way – is compelling from the word go, and its slow and methodical plotting is never less than intriguing all the way through. It doesn’t go in ‘all guns blazing’ with Villeneuve managing to avoid the usual genre pitfalls by providing material that’s intense and engaging in equal measures throughout – with a layer of class and finesse that makes this stand out above the rest.
Blunt continues to blossom into one of Hollywood’s best actresses, but it’s Del Toro who steals the show with a performance that should win him the Best Supporting Actor nod if there’s any justice.
If you want to witness a slice of film genius feel implored to answer the call of Juarez as soon as possible.
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Gavin Miller [youtube id=”7XLQ1bkSLDo” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Daniel Kaluuya, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Donovan, Victor Garber & Julio Cedillo
Running Time: 2 Hrs 1 Min
Director: Denis Villeneuve