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The Story of Sicario

A review on the thriller that will make heads spin

By Victoria Villareal
On October 26, 2015

Photo Courtesy from Lionsgate Entertainment 

Sicario hit theaters in limited release earlier this month. Many critics had high hopes for this movie, and it didn’t disappoint. Critics are praising it for its thrilling scenes, engaging acting and the wonderful directing by Denis Villeneuve. 

The movie stars actress Emily Blunt as FBI agent Kate Macer, actor Benicio Del Toro as the mysterious character of Alejandro, and actor Josh Brolin as the elected government agent Matt Graver. This movie is about a “by the book” agent Macer, who is hand-picked to help a team in charge of taking down a drug lord. During this time she is faced with unethical decisions in order to take out the target. In her team, a mysterious character by the name of Alejandro, is called in to help even the playing field against the cartel.

Many factors stand out to make this movie greats such as the cinematography by Roger Deakins, and the great build up of tension in scenes created by Villeneuve. From the very first scene, the audience is already holding their breath waiting for the unthinkable to happen. Most of the scenes relied mostly on the Foley or background sounds that occur in real life situations.  These Foley sounds are emphasized as the scenes go on in order to heighten the senses of the characters but the audience. Villeneuve doesn’t have to rely on the swelling music to raise the stakes of the scene, but simply points to the raw reality of the problems faced in this movie.

Sicario primarily focuses on the cartel, and subsequently, there is a lack of character building with Macer. There is a shift in story to where the audiences forgets about her character and is left confused as to why she should be there at all. This is because the character of Alejandro is being highlighted more as her foil.  Macer’s character in the film is merely portrayed as a pawn, and one who tries to do the right thing but is ultimately put down for her way for thinking. Blunt’s character seems defenseless compared to her colleagues. Her character emphasizes that doing the right thing may not always lead to a good outcome. Although audiences may be captivated by Blunt’s performance, Del Toro enthralls with his character of Alejandro.

Del Toro is able to draw the audience in with his eerily calm demeanor and his interesting choice of investigative tactics. The audience fears him, but is still curious to see how far he will go to seek his revenge. Del Toro leaves the audience questioning if his character is in fact “evil or not.” With his acting, he is able to point out there is no black and white or good and evil, but one big grey spot that blurs the two together.

Despite its limited release, Sicario has gained a lot of traction with critics and audiences around. Sicario was rated at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and Peter Travers from the Rolling Stone tells its readers to “Prepare to be haunted for a good long time”. There are very few films out today that feature truth on the issue of cartels that has received as much credibility as this film has. With this, audiences are given a small window to the vast problem that plagues our nation’s neighbors, but one that is creeping more and more into our own country. Now this film is not for the faint of heart due to the intense gore and language, but it is still a film that speaks about the truth, and with a voice that should be heard. 

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