“Sicario” is the best film about vengeance this year. Hell, it might be the best one I’ve seen in the last decade. If you were expecting a straight forward border drug war story, you get that on the superficial level. However, Benicio Del Toro’s “Alejandro” brings a special dimension to the film. Director Denis Villeneuve seems to have a knack for tales of revenge, as he lifted the similarly toned “Prisoners” above its pay grade.
Emily Blunt does the hard work of playing the strict lawman, as she balances the delicacy of engaging the drug war in Mexico. Josh Brolin and Jeffrey Donovan show up to explain things to her, while Victor Garber seems more like a fellow that just wants to make sure she’s doing OK. Del Toro doesn’t care for any of this. Benicio Del Toro’s character exists to complete his job and get his vengeance. We see him pick off people with a level of precision that evokes De Niro in “Heat”. But, there’s more going on than cool kills.
The audience watches as Emily Blunt’s character slowly realizes that she’s in over her head. Blunt has a job to do, but she’s not willing to fight the immense powers that threaten to force her to compromise her integrity. But, as near the end of the film, Blunt realizes that some bridges are too far. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a movie willing to be a heroine in such a defeatist position. She knows that she did the right thing and tried to make a difference.
But, good intentions don’t matter in the world of “Sicario”. There are always apex predators waiting for the right opportunity to remove the broken cogs from the machine. Come for the rising directing talent of Villeneuve and stay for that dinner scene. That dinner sequence with the assembled family is why this film works. It’s a master class in editing and lensing a scene to zero fault. I am stoked for what Villeneuve has next for cinema goers.