Sicario (2015)2:00 PM
In Mexico, Sicario Means Hitman.
Sicario is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Incendies) and stars Emily Blunt (Into the Woods, Edge of Tomorrow), Josh Brolin (Everest, W.) and Benicio Del Toro (Snatch., The Usual Suspects). "An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by an elected government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico". Sicario came out of numerous film festivals with rave reviews - does it live up to the hype?
I seriously mean this when I say, Sicario is the film of the year. Not only is it the best smaller film I have seen this year but it has managed to beat out big blockbusters which you know I love. After watching this film, me and my friend were literally speechless - it is a masterpiece. The film has absolutely no flaws - it just gets everything right. For anyone who reads this review and is inspired to see the film, please be aware it is not for the faint-hearted and will make you feel extremely uncomfortable/on edge.
When I first watched Denis Villeneuves 'Prisoners' - I was traumatised - that film was so uncomfortable and horrific to watch but so effective. Going into Sicario, I was hoping for a similar feeling as that was definitely what has made Prisoners have a long lasting effect. This film is very well directed - Villeneuve gets it all right and has definitely proven with this film why some call movies a form of art. This is magnificent.
Sicario jumps straight into the story right from the get go and has you on the edge of your seat from the start as well. I think within 5 minutes, you jump out of your skin - it was so unexpected and just really made it clear that this film isn't going to be a fun time. The story was also much more than just a 'drug chase' movie - the characters were all appealing and the story and setting was just fantastic. I really liked how it captivated the danger of this type of career - it didn't sugar coat it at all! The film is very dark and gritty - there isn't much time for a breath or a smile. Even when you think a scene is a little more upbeat, it is all a lead up to another bad scenario - only brilliant films can be intelligent enough to have this effect. I liked how the development of the characters was done through the narrative as well which also shows that this film is well written - you learn about every character through the script.
The cinematography for this film is absolutely fantastic and definitely Oscar worthy. The shots are beautiful and what I really liked is that the film took its time showing establishing shots whereas most films would give you a 1 second glimpse at the location whereas in Sicario, you are given a good 10 seconds or so to understand your surroundings. I think this actually helped you to feel more immersed in the films world. Now, I said the film is shot beautifully but I also have to mention that some of these shots are horrific to look at. The make up team have done a fantastic job as when you see dead bodies - it is very shocking. There is one moment in the film where the characters drive past a group of tied up dead bodies which was extremely surprising and once again reminded you that this isn't going to be a feel-good film. I also liked how there were a variety of unique shot types used - some include when a scene was shown through a reflection which was good and when the camera was on one of the police vehicles which once again felt like you were in on the mission and with the characters. The scenes that take place in the tunnel were also very well executed - I like how different filters were used - this really helped to up the tension to another level. I also like how the film portrays night as it actually is night which is what most films don't do - they always have artificial lighting during nighttime where Sicario doesn't which makes it feel a lot more real.
So the tension. Sicario had 3 major moments/scenes of tension - the beginning, the middle and the end. Even when these scenes were not occurring, there was still an underlying feeling that the film was quite eery. The beginning scene really grabs your attention and sets the tone for the rest of the film, the middle actually makes you feel immersed in the films world and is very uncomfortable to watch - it could easily work well in a horror film and the end scene is so tense its unreal. There is no music edited in for this scene and it really helps - there is literally no hope for any of the characters at this point in time and you don't know what direction the film will go in. Sicario also isn't afraid to go to places that some films may fear to go - it is extremely uncomfortable but probably one of the most effective films that I have seen.
The score for the film was also great - it wasn't edited in for the whole film but when it was, it was very very effective. The music could also work well in a horror film - that is basically the best way to describe Sicario - a real life horror film. My favourite piece of music was during the tunnel scene - it just let you know that you weren't in a safe place and that danger was near. I don't know if it was my cinema, but I thought the sounds of gunshots and explosions were actually very clear - you heard to bullet leave the gun etc - this just added to the whole immersive experience.
Finally, the acted for the film is absolutely fantastic. The marketing for Sicario made out that Emily Blunt was the lead but I think she shared the spotlight with Del Toro. However, Blunt was fantastic nevertheless - I think she was probably the most relatable character as if she wasn't told something, the audience wouldn't know anything either. It was like Blunt was a symbol for the audience - her performance was mesmerising. Benicio Del Toro was fantastic in this film - he played his character so well and made the audience not feel fully comfortable when he was around. Del Toro and Blunt definitely deserve awards recognition for their work in this film. Josh Brolin was also great - he is on a role with performances recently (just after Everest) and he was great here to.
Sicario is the film of the year. It is uncomfortable, horrific but extremely effective - it sends chills up your spine. The film is acted fantastically across the board with standout performances from Blunt and Del Toro. The film is shot amazingly with a balance of beauty and horror. There is just nothing I can fault about this film. Sicario means hitman - this film is definitely a HIT.
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