Is it just me or anyone else find the tagline ‘In Mexico, Sicario means hitman’ kinda cheesy…
Just watched Sicario today. Thought of whipping up a review or rather, my impressions on it here. I figured I have things I wanna praise but also the weak links that made it less compelling, but still worth watching.
So let’s talk about the good stuffs first.
The movie basically sells on its gripping suspense, which I do have to say, works like a charm from the opening scene itself. I don’t even normally get surprised by shock value in horror movies but I admit, I did get one or two jolts in this movie. Look out for that explosion during the raid scene in the beginning. I was totally anticipating it since the director gave us few hints by showing the basement several times and long shots of the corpse as well as the officers. I knew something like an explosion would come but the timing got me. It just happened faster than I thought and before I knew it, I shuddered for a bit.
Speaking of suspense, there were quite a number of long lingering scenes with silence that made the atmosphere all the more uneasy and eerie. I do like those. It’s also very grim, sprinkled with few humorous lines just to let us chill a bit before getting down to business. Justice is not black and white in this movie. It’s a thin line and I’ll get to Kate’s (Emily Blunt) role in this soon but basically, I do like that they’re not giving us all the ‘justice crap’. No, this movie gives us glimpses of the horror inflicted on the people across the border, Mexico where the cartels are in control. They kill and mutilate anyone without mercy and the cops are getting nowhere near to annihilate them.
I like the cinematography. I appreciate all the focus they had on Emily Blunt’s face because that’s exactly her role in the movie. She’s an observer. We see this ‘new world’ from her eyes and we feel what she feels because when she flinches, we flinch, when she’s in distress, we are too. Her facial expressions are mostly well done, she did quite magnificently in conveying her emotions.
However, I feel that’s also part of the weakness in this movie. I understand that the screenwriter most probably did this deliberately to make us see the world in her eyes. So we’re also in the black like her most of the time for ¾ of the movie. Even though she was in control in the beginning as she led a raid to save a kidnapped family, after she ‘volunteered’ herself to join a new team in Mexico to take down a cartel boss, she was totally lost. Nobody told her what their ‘true mission’ was or what she was actually supposed to even be doing in the team. She was basically like an extra baggage. Of course, afterwards, her role was revealed to be necessary in the team only to make sure their actions would end up as ‘legal’ by the end of the day.
I can’t help but feel Emily Blunt was slightly underused in the movie. As far as I can tell, both Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro were in total control and they absolutely shone. Emily was great too but due to the lack of her ‘active-role’ in the movie, I felt her talents were slightly wasted but it’s still one of her best works. The final confrontation with the cartel boss was pretty quick too, which is good and bad in a way. As it turned out, Emily didn’t even have anything to do at the end except sign a damn piece of paper to ‘legalize’ all their missions and it all boiled down to Del Toro’s revenge.
At the end of the day, they’re selling the movie by using Emily Blunt as poster girl (she was brilliant for what her character had to do though it felt underwhelming) while the real ones doing the work are Brolin and Del Toro. Speaking of actions, the ones you see in the trailers were basically just about it. Then again, the movie’s selling point is suspense, not action.