My Rating: 7 out of 10
Going into Sicario, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and coming out the film, I’m not really too sure what to say. The movie, which tells the story of an idealistic FBI agent named Kate Macer (played by Emily Blunt) joining a special task force let by shady government officials to take down Manual Diaz (a cartel boss played by Bernardo Saracino) and Fausto Alarcon (a powerful drug lord played by Julio Cedillo), left me and my friends with mixed feelings.
Sicario is without a doubt a good film with solid acting and a realistic, interesting setting. There was talk of possible Academy Award nominations, which I could see as feasible if it were for the acting or cinematography. However, there are parts of the film that drag and make 2 hours feel more like 3. The problem is that there really isn’t much that can be cut without either jeopardizing the audience’s understanding of the background or ruining the beauty of the cinematography. A lot of time is spent on beautiful scenic shots, which add an interesting layer to a film with such a gritty and murky plot.
At times, the violence is intense and over the top to the point that it was genuinely uncomfortable to watch. Still, at other times, the violence is downplayed and left to the imagination of the audience. This was something that also made the film feel a bit disjointed. On top of this, there was a story inside the story about a Mexican policeman and his family, which I thought was absolutely essential in order to show a juxtaposition between characters and play around with the idea of “good” and “bad”, but in the end this also threw off the pacing of the film.
I think that the reason Sicario felt lacking despite being so suspenseful and well-crafted was that the filmmakers may not have been positive what kind of story they wanted to tell. The best parts of the movie (in my opinion) were the beginning and the end, which were loaded with action. The middle was greatly filled with elements of drama and character/setting building, which were good in and of themselves, but felt a bit detached from the rest of the story at times. Sicario felt like it was trying to mimic Zero Dark Thirty, but fell short somehow.
Luckily, the acting more than made up for the odd pacing. Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Emily Blunt in particular all did a phenomenal job and played characters that were extremely well written and realistic. After hearing that the filmmakers turned down a budget increase in order to keep Emily Blunt in the film and not replace her with a male actor, I was even more intrigued to see her in the role. While Blunt definitely has a lot of really cool scenes that prove Kate Macer’s ability to fight back against the guys, but the fact that her character is a stand-in for the audience is a little bit blatant at times.
Overall, this was a hard review to write. I recommend going to check out Sicario for yourself if you are interested in crime-thrillers with elements of drama, or if you are a fan of any of the leading cast members. Keep in mind that there are some intense elements in the film that are not for the faint of heart. If you find yourself checking your watch during the middle of the film, don’t worry because the third act is extremely well done and exciting.