Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher


Director Denis Villanueve’s (Prisoners) biggest film to date is an unqualified home run.  This riveting thriller, set on the US-Mexican border, the disputed turf of the war on drugs, featured Emily Blunt as Kate, a tough and honorable FBI agent trying to apply law and order to a part of the world where neither applies.

As we meet her, Kate is leading a bust on a human trafficking operation.  Her team uncovers something much larger and pays a huge price for that discovery.  Cut to a regional FBI office where Kate and her partner Reggie (Daniel Kaluuya) are called in by her boss (the ubiquitous Victor Garber) for a mysterious meeting with group of criminal justice suits that includes a jeans and flip-flop bedecked Matt Graver (Josh Brolin).  Kate is offered an opportunity to go after bigger fish than the ones she previously pursued. 

Next, we find Kate and Matt in a gymnasium-like room where a crewcut crew chief is explaining a mission that sounds vaguely illegal to a group of men that included Delta Force, Texas Rangers, miscellaneous mercenaries, and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), a sleepy-eyed, laconic operative in a rumpled suit who somehow seems more dangerous than any of their the posturing, testosterone-exuding teammates.  In short order, we are off on the mission.  We know very little about it because Kate knows very little about it.  This is the strongest part of the many strong parts of this film: Villanueve thrusts us into Kate’s shoes, and we learn as she does.  We empathize with her, and Blunt’s face holds a mirror up to our own harrowed feelings as Sicario hurtles toward a destination we aren’t sure we want to reach.

Following her badass turn in the sci--fi thriller, Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, Emily Blunt cements herself as a legitimate action star.  I had heard that this role would push her into the forefront of the Oscar race.  She is certainly good enough, but I don’t know if this is the role that will do it for her.  Benicio Del Toro, though, puts in a performance that rivals Javier Bardem’s turn in No Country for Old Men.  I expect to hear from him as Supporting Actor come Oscar Time.  Legendary Cinematographer Roger Deakins will be there, too, and maybe this will be his year after 11 nominations.  He captures the bleak beauty of the landscape—at times the film even has a documentary feel to it—and a night vision vignette is a piece of claustrophobic wonder.  That set piece, along with a scene at the border-crossing scene and several others, stay with the viewer for days afterward.

8.5 out of 10


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