Sicario

Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(21user reviews)
Sicario

Clawing his way up the power ranks of Directors Least Likely To Make A Romantic Comedy, Denis Villeneuve takes on the Mexican drug trade in this stern, robust, abandon-hope-all-ye-who-enter thriller. And during its throat-grabbingly effective opening, it seems he may have the final word on this oft-visited genre. As an FBI team, headed by Emily Blunt's stoic agent Kate, literally crashes an Arizona drug-cartel hideout, a gruesome cache of human corpses is uncovered behind the drywall – and the filmmaking practically gives off its own vivid, indignant stench. Cinematographer Roger Deakins's dynamic camera forces us to look where we'd rather not; Johann Johannsson's score swarms with malevolent foreboding. Even as he borrows from other movies' hellish visions – some of the most arresting imagery here feels lifted from Amat Escalante's 2013 Cannes winner ‘Heli’ – Villeneuve knows how to overwhelm his audience.

That panicked pitch, however, is tough to sustain across two hours of beautifully wrought moral turpitude that nonetheless doesn't contain many stunning revelations. Kate is drafted into a mysterious, agency-merging task force established to bait and bring down a key cartel leader, though her requests for information are blocked at nearly every turn: she's not even sure if her rule-bending team leader (Josh Brolin, on strong, non-stick form) belongs to the CIA or not. Still, he's a positive chatterbox compared to Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro, superb), a quietly lethal ex-prosecutor with a personal stake in the hunt. Good guys and bad guys largely wear the same hats in this ethical minefield, but that's hardly news: as in Villeneuve's similarly nasty, formidable ‘Prisoners’, ‘Sicario’ occasionally seems a little too impressed by its own nihilism. Still, this is an involving, grown-up film from a director whose muscular technique continues to impress: one might call it pulp in the same manner one would a plate of minced meat.

By: Guy Lodge

Posted:

Release details

Release date:
Thursday October 8 2015
Duration:
121 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Denis Villeneuve
Screenwriter:
Taylor Sheridan
Cast:
Emily Blunt
Josh Brolin
Benicio del Toro

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:5
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|21
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Tastemaker

I finally got round to watching this now it's come to Netflix and after a strong opening with gruesome revelations, the interest soon waned for me. This is probably down to the fact that Emily Blunt's character is constantly denied answers at every turn and, as the audience, so are we. As different agencies come together to collaborate and bring down a Mexican drug cartel, we're left unsure as to anyone's motives, but don't get let in on any of it until near the end. Unfortunately by then, I was bored rigid.

Tastemaker

I wasn't expecting much from this movie as on paper it isn't really my sort of movie but after 10 minutes I was hooked. Emily Blunt is excellent in this film and played a strong rule adhering lead brilliantly. Benicia del Toro played, as always, a brilliantly broody slightly unhinged character. There was enough gore and violence to keep you interested but luckily they cut away from certain torturous moments leaving it up to the imagination. Through the movie you do get the sense that the only way to beat the drug baddie bosses is to break the rules and most definitely the law but it was a great bit of escapism. 


Write a review This is one of the best movies I've seen in the last few years. If you like suspenseful movie with good cinematography which evokes interesting questions rather than feeding you everything with cheesy scenes, then its right up your street. Without spoiling anything, we don't know who the Sicario is (Hitman in spanish) till the last part of the film. Roger Deakins' cinematography is amazing as always & although all 3 lead actors were great, Benicio Del Toro was the best! 

Tastemaker

I had expected a lot more from this movie and unfortunately I was left feeling slightly underwhelmed.  I was very happy to see a movie promoted a strong female lead at the head of an investigation against the drug cartels.  Instead what I found was Emily Blunt fighting for what was 'right' when you could see that sometimes the wrong way around things is the right way.  The biggest struggle in the movie I felt was Emily Blunt trying and failing to give up smoking. 


The main story line, minus Emily, was excellent and I would have loved to have seen it from the other side instead of following a protagonist who in the end had become quite irritating.  A wrong portrayal of a strong female lead from the filmmakers in my eyes.  

Tastemaker

I never expected to be drawn so much into this film , It is very intense, really snappy and the right amount of drama. The way the story builds up is just incredible. All the characters are like-able and at the same time you loathe the situation they are caught up in, you really don't know who to cheer for. I guess that is the point - no side wins, casualties just get caught up in the power and politics. Emily Blunt and Del Torro are mesmerizing, I really think he deserves an Oscar.


Big plot twists along the way that distort your views, watch open mouthed and sometimes with my eyes closed.


Absolutely fantastic, Would certainly see it again!

Tastemaker

I went to see this at a late night Thursday showing. The film had a slow start if I'm honest, introducing Emily Blunt's character an FBI agent along with her partner. Once it got going however, it was action packed and explosive. Sicario (in Colombia meaning people who are hired to kill for money) involved the Colombian Medellin cartel, the Mexican drug cartels and a load of CIA and FBI agents. Emily Blunt did a stunning job at portraying a rookie and vulnerable FBI agent. My favourite character was played by Benecia Del Toro...but I won't give it away! Although the pace drops at times, it still delivers. Gritty and action filled, I wasn't disappointed!


Somewhat over-rated by the critics. One or two excellent set-pieces, some impressive photography and a superb pulsating soundtrack but Soderbergh`s Traffic (also starring del Toro) dealt with similar themes in a much more thorough and coherent manner. Three and a half stars.


Judging from the posters and trailers for Sicario, you may be lead to believe that this film is about FBI agent "Kate Macer" (played by Emily Blunt) willing to prove herself under a threatening new assignment. But half way through the film Emily takes a back seat from her "bad-assery", as seen in films like the Edge of Tomorrow, and portrays a realistic approach to someone who is way out of her depth in a multi-layered crime story centered around the Mexican cartel (let's face it, under these circumstances sometimes it's best not to be the hero!).


After being caught up in a drug bust which evolved into a mass body count - She soon meets Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro, or ... Puerto Rican Brad Bitt as I like to call him...) and Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) - key operatives in a mission to fight back against Fausto Alarcon - one of the head honcho's of the cartel. And at this point in the story you begin to realise that the story is not so much centred around Kate, but more so on the character of Alejandro and what his mission is.


The most memorable part for me during this film is a sequence that was shot in night vision - almost akin to the kind of experience you have whilst playing an intense video game. The cinematography and action was fantastic, drawing me in and keeping me on my toes. But I found the story somewhat lacking...there were some good twists here and there, but at times the story was lost on me, with some of the military jargon being laid on a bit too thick.


Overall - a good action film to watch with an interesting story if you can keep up with it. I'm sure fans of Denis Villeneuve's previous films will not be disappointed!

Tastemaker

Almost despairingly grim and pessimistic, Villeneuve ratchets up the tension to 11 (aided by Johann Johannsson's terrifying score) with dread or danger almost always apparent - the 2 major set-pieces in particular are stunning.


As good as the performances and cinematography are, I can't see myself returning to this world but for 2 hours of entertainment in the cinema it delivers the goods. Probably Villeneuve's best US film to date.


Hard hitting gritty piece. Not the usual action packed thriller but something much darker


Awesome movie! On your toes all the time and a good classic thriller but not a blockbuster

tastemaker

Who is working for who ? What are they up to ?

The film is very well made, and deliberately avoids spelling it out.The film is fiction, but seems to be suggesting that the facts could be close to what is America is really doing to clean up drug cartels, happy to use torture, to murder, and happy to trash any standards of law & order. All a bit depressing really.

If you're after a packaged Hollywood movie that's neat and tied with a bow, this isn't it. It's gritty, funny, heartwarming, scary, confusing; truer to life than most films. It's unpretentious but holds you from the get go. Benicio's acting is superb; difficult to read, he commands respect and fear. Emily Blunt's character wasn't what I expected, although it fits with the film's progression.

I'd recommend going to see it. Avoid the trailers and don't come with any preconceptions of what the film will be and you'll be pleasantly surprised - providing you like your thrillers undiluted.

Tastemaker

What a weird one!  Nice soundtrack, some great acting by Benecio DT, but the storyline was all over the place. If you want to watch something about drug smuggling - go watch Narcos on Netflix.  If you want a strange, all over the place storyline with a good score - maybe give this one a try?


Didn't dislike but didn't love


I left the the cinema scratching my head at what I had just seen. Lots of build up almost too much. I think the movie got lost along the way. Started off as one thing and ended up as anothers. The magical traffic jam, the cop and his footballing kid? I dunno.. would not watch this again.


It's a good thriller! The soundtrack and sound editing were the best part in my opinion. Although from the trailer I thought Emily Blunt's character would be more interesting, a good strong female agent for a change. But instead she is fragile and patronized. For the only female role in the film I expected more. But it's a good film nonetheless.

Tastemaker

Just home after a free Time Out card screening.

Overall left me cold. It's intense & the portrayal of drug cartels & their gruesome crimes alongside the way 'law enforcement ' has a to bend to cope should all be gripping !

But frankly it feels long & slow - I was confused for a lot of the time, the Emily Blunt character is not particularlu developed & what there is makes her seem clueless, fragile & naive.

I love a bit of action & a thriller & political intrigue but somehow apart from Benicio el Torro's performance everything about Sicario missed the mark for me!

Tastemaker

Sicario is dark, deep and immersive. I left the cinema feeling like I had lived 3 harrowing days following a covert operation on the war on drugs. Subversive and emotionally complex - the good guys were bad and the bad guys were worse. A philosophy student could do worse than watch this for their lesson on Machiavellianism.

A great film, Hollywood doesn't make many like this


Sicario is a great action movie in a realistic setting.  A little bit of Hollywood as it is based in LA in some scenes, but a gritty and dark tale of the only way to sometimes get justice done.  There some amazing scenes showing the lengths people will go to for money and the true depravity that exists in our society, but also some elements which prove just how hard a chosen few will work to fight to keep the world clean and safe.  A great "True Detective" type vibe to it.  Definitely recommend.


Sicario is a very dark thriller that looks into how the U.S. goverment is trying to limit the effect of the Mexican drug cartels. It has a brilliant cast and gripping story line and there is never a dull moment. Some scenes have some great visuals which almost feel like you are in the game Call Of Duty. This film is not for the faint of heart but if you can stomach the violence it is a great watch.


A powerfully gripping and intense thriller about American Secret Forces's war on Mexican Drug Cartels, focusing on the "not-so-legal" methods they are prepared to go to stop the Cartels from smuggling drugs into America! With an absolutely brilliant and toweringly haunting performance from the legendary Benicio Del Toro and fantastic turns from both Emily Blunt and the always immense Josh Brolin! 


The film is taken to even dizzier heights by Oscar Winner (for The Theory of Everything) Johann Johannsson's Pulsating Sound Track that serves to get your Heart Pumping faster as you nervously but very anxiously await what's going to happen next!!!!


I would highly recommend this as one of the best thrillers of the year! It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time!