Film, In Review: Sicario

Suspend your disbelief and run blind into the dark knowing that death may be waiting for you on the other side. Know that not everyone will play by the rules, know that you will, without a doubt, be changed; know that giving up isn’t always a bad option.

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Emily Blunt (Kate Mercer) in “Sicario”

A daily dose of violence and moral reconnaissance isn’t unusual for FBI agent Kate Mercer (Emily Blunt), but a near fatal home invasion uncovers fragments of an illicit drug ring that has weaseled its way throughout the United States and amassed a trail of death in its wake. A change in directive lands Kate in the back of an SUV en route to Juárez, Mexico where she meets CIA operative Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), a mysterious chess piece in a dangerous narcotics game. Their assignment: to extract the CIA’s greatest liability. Kate soon realizes however, that this is only half the story. In Juárez, she is immediately exposed to the malicious side of human life unseen. Murder and theft run rampant on city streets in a place where every man is sanctioned with a bounty for information they have yet to possess. Days of subterfuge eventually eat at her like a wild coyote. Bad habits return and insomnia emerges as the hunt for a ravenous drug lord slowly kills her.

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Emily Blunt (Kate Mercer), Josh Brolin (Matt Graver), and Benicio Del Toro (Alejandro) in “Sicario”

Canadian director Denis Villenueve brings “Sicario” to life with picturesque scenes of frustration, anxiety, and invasive tension. Throughout the film, audiences are given two perspectives: Kate’s and another. Through Kate’s eyes, we are kept on the edge of our seats waiting for some shadow of ourselves to appear and remind us that we are easily dispensable. The contrast, the omniscient perspective, gives us insight into a world beyond Kate’s walls – a world filled with greed, power, and untimely deceit. Blunt does a fantastic portrayal with so little dialogue, channelling Kate’s rabid motivation through inquisitive glances and cautionary lips. Regardless, she is always one step behind the brutish Josh Brolin, lagging exasperated alongside an enigmatic Benicio Del Toro. Victor Garber, Daniel Kaluuya, and Jon Bernthal meanwhile, cast secondary menaces in this federal mod squad. “Sicario’s” cinematography presents us with a visual contrast juxtaposing wide open landscapes with over the shoulder close ups, suffocating the viewer at every opportune moment whilst exploring untamed wildness’s.

 

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Emily Blunt (Kate Mercer) and Daniel Kaluuya (Reggie) in “Sicario”

As the film progresses we watch as Kate deteriorates with each drug raid but the consummation of drugs, its usage, its value, its magnetism — is what propels her forward. In reality, the war on drugs engrosses nearly every corner of our world. Everyday millions of people lose themselves, their family, and their friends to horrid addictions, loneliness, and death. Expired bodies boil in alleyways slathered in guilt, sacrifices, and irreconcilable differences.

“Drugs are a machine in need of no oil change or replacement because its potential is immeasurable.”

After realizing her place among the CIA, we understand why Kate wants to keep going, why she wants to finish the mission. She’s already gotten this far, sure, but it’s the principle behind it all; it’s the hunger for justice that has harvested her very purpose for living.

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