Police and military procedurals have been very popular. TV shows such as CSI, NCIS and the Law & Order franchises have educated viewers in the miniature of crime work. Whilst shown in heightened reality, there’s been enough to captivate in showing the machinations of criminals and law-defenders. ‘Sicario’ takes a leaf out of this successful book. Delving into a grimy world of drugs and politicking, it’s a gripping procedural worth investigating.
Kate (Emily Blunt) is an idealistic FBI agent good at her job. Determined to uncover any vicious crime, she usually finds her prey. Enlisted by a government task force to tackle a drug war between the American and Mexican border, her resolve is tested. Working with fellow agents Matt (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) she soon discovers all is not as it seems with the war on drugs blurring the lines between friend and foe.
Any good movie should captivate from its first frame, something ‘Sicario’ effectively does. Initially a typical drug-bust drama that morphs into a gripping tale of revenge. Whilst the law-enforcers are the tale’s ‘heroes’, events force viewers to question what they see. Shaking the audience from their pre-conceived ideas, ‘Sicario’ provides genuine twists. Kate, Matt and Alejandro all have their own agendas making for realistic conflict and true tension.
Denis Villeneuve’s direction wrings much from the premise. Only using dialogue when absolutely necessary, he allows the mood to slowly surface. Coupled with sparse use of music, Villeneuve forces his audience to observe the action. The raids on drug compounds are genuinely gripping, dragging the observer right into the heart of battle. The actors do a fine job in these sequences ensuring their characters are shown in shades of grey rather than being empty characterisations.
One of the strongest movies about the drug trade in recent years, ‘Sicario’ benefits from authenticity. Well performed with arresting cinematography, it’s a worthy exploration of a scene most should avoid.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 8
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.