I must openly admit that I was visibly shaken up and rocked to my very core by the end of ‘Sicario’. This movie is like a punch to the chest or rude awakening for those with their eyes closed. It’s a movie that is less a traditional narrative and more a vessel to help Americans experience the depravity that we call the “War on Drugs”. Honestly, watching this film was like experiencing ‘Apocalypse Now’ on the Mexican border. It’s that intense.
You could probably break the dialogue down in this movie to about 45 minutes if you got rid of everything else, but that does not speak poorly of what is said. In fact, there is really not a wasted word in this movie. The dialogue is mostly a series of conversations directly assessing the situation at hand, but you also get revelations about characters at exactly the right moment. And when these revelations come, they build up slowly into something that’s truly profound.
Yet, it’s the intense sequences of agents rolling through Juarez or traipsing through underground tunnels that will put you on the edge of your seat. This is because the areas you are entering are uncharted territory and represent a world that is completely foreign to most. Many will have no idea how horrible the cartels really are less than a few miles over the border. Far less people will understand how much the United States is willing to break everything the constitution stands for to stop these bastards. That is the real revelation of the film.
The opening sequence of the film establishes a level of tension that continues to exist throughout. It begins with an FBI raid on a cartel stash house that’s quite disastrous. What exactly are the cartels stashing? Well, dozens of kidnap victims throughout the walls of a residential home is what. And by the time the raid is all said and done a handful of officers lose their lives or are severely injured by a bomb. This leaves a talented young FBI agent named Kate Macy (played by an unforgettable Emily Blunt) desperately wishing for answers.
She gets those answers, but it comes at quite a price. When she agrees to be part of a cartel task force that is operating around the border between El Paso and Juarez, she has little clue what the fuck is really going on. The team is led by a shady Department of Defense liaison named Matt who seems hellbent on keeping her in the dark. She thinks that he is CIA, but she knows absolutely nothing for sure.
In her first meeting with the task force, she is also introduced to a man named Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). A lot of red flags come up for her in this first meeting, but Alejandro is the biggest one. You see, Alejandro is not American and has no jurisdiction to be doing what he is doing on American soil. Yet, it seems that is entirely the point. He is there so that they can do things that might be considered illegal by an American official. Which really only leaves one big question. Why is Kate there?
The answer to that question is both shocking and sadly typical of what path this country has taken since 9/11. And if you don’t know about it than this movie is a must see. Hell, even if you know everything about the drug war you should see this movie! ‘Sicario’ is a smart, tense, and important thriller. It’s a movie that illuminates and entertains. And it is easily one of the best films of 2015!
SICARIO on Blu-ray/DVD Jan. 5th (Digital HD: Dec. 29th).