Thursday, 6 February 2020

Movie review: Sicario, dir Denis Villeneuve (2015)

This unconventional film details North America’s war against drugs and uses a secondary character – Kate, played by Emily Blunt – to embody the viewer while recounting the exploits of an assassin and his handler. I wouldn’t know how accurate any of these depictions are because this is not a documentary and I don’t know enough about the situation in the south of the US and the north of Mexico, but the drama is compelling.

Whether the movie outlines a new state of affairs I something I also cannot say, but you hear things from time to time in the media (if you are paying the least bit of attention). In his defence, the director impressed me, as he had done on earlier occasions when I had seen his movies: 2016’s ‘Arrival’ and 2017’s ‘Blade Runner: 2049’.

Kate, like the other leads, in law enforcement, gets into trouble and then has qualms about the methods that Matt (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) use to achieve their aims. Her colleague Reggie (Daniel Kaluuya) is a foil to the unorthodoxy of the two leading men and the completeness of his character is a credit to the writers of this drama. Blurring of the lines between crime and justice is a major theme.

It’s difficult to accurately demonstrate how violence and injustice function in the lives of individuals and I’m not sure that the Mexican family that appears at different times in the narrative ideally serves that purpose. Silvio (Maximiliano Hernandez), a policeman, and his wife (Kim Larrichio) and son represent an attempt by the filmmakers to demonstrate how the US drug market and US law enforcement affect Mexican communities. I suspect that this film, which I saw on Netflix, will stand the test of time.

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