Sicario: A thrilling film with fascinating characters.

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Verdict: Despite working with themes that are often displayed on screen in action and crime films, director Dennis Villeneuve manages to pull out the most of his characters, enriching what otherwise could’ve been a common and boring plot.

This film rarely lets the audience catch a breath. The two hours are packed with a thread of suspense that almost always extended to its maximum. Although the themes in “Sicario” aren’t new, they are well-handled and the story is gripping.


The opening of “Sicario” is quick and communicates visually, rather than with rivers of dialogue. Kate (Emily Blunt), a young FBI agent, finds a house in the middle of the desert where dead bodies are hanging from the ceiling, causing an almost intolerable foul smell. As another agent tries to open a locked door at the bottom of a shed, a bomb goes off, killing him and a few others. Kate, in the next scene, accepts to join a special mission in Mexico to look for the drug cartel lord responsible for this and hundreds of other deaths.

In one scene, FBI cars go through a violent Mexican community. While the prior shots showed us the vastness of the landscape and highways stretching through them. Here, we find ourselves confined with the protagonist inside a car with characters she doesn’t trust. The choice of angles and the editing make us part of this journey into an underworld of crime we seem to know little about.

These unknown characters are FBI advisors and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) is one of them. A cool, calm man who neatly folds his expensive suit into his bag before strapping a rifle on his shoulders. The brilliance behind Del Toro’s character is how little we know about him. He looks somehow out of place and yet seems to be respected by others. He gains our respect when he saves Kate from being killed and, yet, not even then does he opens up to us.

Del Toro’s acting is worth the ticket alone. Quiet and contemplative, observant and decisive. It’s all in Del Toro’s face. As an audience, we seem to constantly have questions for him, but he dodges them like bullets until the very end, when his true goal is revealed. Alejandro is probably one of the most interesting movie characters of 2015.

Kate’s story is the main one, and it’s also interesting. An idealistic agent, she refuses to accept that men like Alejandro can act so freely under FBI control. Yet, there’s something inside her that slowly comes to grip with the situation she finds herself in: a law official witnessing law being practiced through illegal means. This internal combat is a powerful one and Blunt delivers a remarkable performance as her character struggles with it until the very last scene.

“Sicario” is a fascinating trip through a world of crime and drugs. The characters hang in grey areas. Can we call evil a man who is a cop but must transport drugs in order to feed his family? Can we call a woman good who witnesses illegal procedures happening under her eyes and eventually gives up on reporting it? How about a guy working under the FBI who we know nothing about? These are the questions, the double edge swords, that make each character unique and interesting.

The theme of “Sicario” isn’t new, but there’s a freshness to its characters that so far is unrivaled in 2015. And the last scene just leaves us hanging. The story is concluded, yes, but the motives that caused it are still there. Director Dennis Villeneuve doesn’t calm us with his black screen. He stirs us up further. He discomforts us. And that is something only a great director with a great story can do.