“This is the land of wolves now”.
Sicario (‘Hitman’ in Mexican) is well worth your viewing time. The ever-reliable Emily Blunt excels here as FBI agent and hostage specialist Kate Macer. After a gruesome discovery in Phoenix, Kate becomes an idealistic fish-out-of-water in a complex CIA mission, run by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) against a notorious Mexican drug cartel. Key to the mission is Columbian-born Alejandro (Benicio del Toro): a man with a tragic past that directly guides his future. To tell more would spoil what is a dense and complex storyline that evolves in a most satisfactory manner.
The acting is superb, with Blunt giving a career-best performance (sadly overlooked by the major awards), Josh Brolin being convincing as the war-weathered CIA man and Benicio del Toro delivering his best stone cold killer in gripping style. His Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination is well deserved, albeit for the maintenance of a fairly standard and chilling expression. Finally a name to watch for the future is London-born Daniel Kaluuya as Macer’s black FBI colleague frustrated at being sidelined as a ‘spare’ by the task force.
Equally praiseworthy is the epic cinematography of Roger Deakin (“Skyfall”, “No Country for Old Men”) which is also Oscar nominated. Remarkable landscapes of the Mexican border are supported by breathtaking helicopter/drone shots of the CIA convoy of black vehicles in one of the tenser moments in the film. Outstanding (for both direction, editing and cinematography) is a scene set in and around a tunnel that is the best satellite/night vision scene since the ‘electronic battlefield’ in “Patriot Games” in 1992.
The Oscar-nominated music by Jóhann Jóhannsson (so good with “The Theory of Everything”) is of the atonal electronic variety, undoubtedly effective in conveying the film’s mood but difficult to compare against the more obvious Oscar nominations from the likes of Ennio Morricone and John Williams.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve (who specialises in single named features) this is a tense, intelligent and thought-providing film that does nothing for Mexico’s tourist industry but a lot for Trump’s presidential campaign!
Often brutal, this is not an easy film to watch. But it is a highly intelligent watch, requiring your full attention throughout, and is deserving of a place among the best films of 2015. Recommended.
Fad Rating: FFFF.
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