“Sicario” is the kind of jarring thrill ride that moviegoers all love. The anticipation and perpetual state of angst keeps viewers on their toes eager for what’s about to unfold.
The movie literally opens up with a bang, as a SWAT truck comes crashing into the walls of the home of a drug lord, which quickly turns into a hectic shootout. Automatically, the viewer is assaulted by guns and gore, and a lot of decomposing bodies concealed behind the drywall. Before the audience can even get a chance to make sense of what’s happening, the leader of the FBI team, Kate Macer (Emily Blunt, “Edge of Tomorrow”) knocks into a wall discovering a dead body, with a bag over its decaying head, as well as 41 other bodies in the same condition.
Macer is the kind of detective who likes to play by the rules. With a no-nonsense personality, she’s adamant about winning the ongoing war against drugs, which in result leads her to volunteer for a purposefully ambiguous task force. The leading agent of the mission, Matt Graver played by Josh Brolin, (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”) with his almost carefree, guile demeanor serves essentially as the commander-in-chief. However Macer, as well as the audience get the impression that there is more to the task, than just a simple drug bust.
This suspicion is confirmed when the team travels south of the border to Mexico, and is promptly engaged in yet another gunfight, whilst in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Here’s the thing though; there’s this little thing called jurisdiction which they don’t possess in Mexico. So, this entire scene where they kill several men in two vehicles with hundreds of civilians around, isn’t exactly legal. Not only is the audience aware of this, but so is our main character. Macer acts as a sort of proxy for the viewers. We watch as she grapples with trying to understand why she was recruited for this most likely illegal mission, and why every piece of information she receives is so vague and obscure. As much as this movie is a thriller, it could easily be identified as a mystery as well.
The most suspenseful thing about this movie could be the ambiguity that surrounds it and the constant need for information coming from Macer, like what exactly does Graver do? And what’s up with his enigmatic partner, Alejandro played by Bencio Del Toro (“Snatch”)? In one of the scenes when Macer is trying to pedal information out of him, he relays to her, “Nothing will make sense to your American ears.” As if this was a foreshadowing for the entire movie, he’s right.
Throughout the movie, the audience gets the impression, that this is somehow a social commentary on whether there should be a means to an end on doing the right thing. It’s almost as if the director, Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners”) is asking viewers, ‘Is doing the right thing always moral? Or even legal?’ “Sicario” provides the viewer with this struggle of ideals. Watching the events unfold, in their hearts viewers understand it’s for a greater cause. However, the ways in which it is accomplished leave a sour taste in their mouths.
The movie itself is a good balance of thriller and thought-provoking perception, which takes audiences beyond just gore and violence, to more challenging themes.
Rating: 4 out of 5