Honestly, I had been excited to see Sicario ever since I saw the first trailer for it. It’s got everything I could possibly ask from this type of Hollywood movie: doing something serious and grand, while being dark and violent, with a great cast and story oozing with deeply provoking themes. Not only dors it look gorgeous, Sicario absolutely excels in bringing you up close and personal to the brutality and chaotic ugliness of the world of drug cartels and war on drugs on the Mexican border. It’s ugly, loud, paranoid, deeply disturbing and devious to the bone.
The cast was great across the line. Benicio del Toro was quite excellent as the mysterious Alejandro, and even though you learn very little of him, everything he does has your full attention. It was also nice to see Brolin again in something that’s got some substance behind it. He can be a bit hit and miss with the projects he ends up choosing, for every No Country for Old Men you have stuff like Jonah Hex and Gangster Squad. I really liked the tightrope act being both a likable mysterious government official as well as a bit of a smug, condescending asshole that Brolin had going on. And of course the very star of the movie, Emily Blunt, was magnificent. She proved here that Edge of Tomorrow wasn’t just a fluke and she’s actually someone worth following. Not only does she get to do a very complex and character driven serious performance, she also gets to show her fragile side without ever feeling like her character was merely being victimized. It’s a very hard line to toe but she pulls it off, she’s got agency and she never succumbs to being a mere damsell in distress. Even when she’s breaking down mentally at a certain point, it’s more of a soul crushing response to the bleak, dark world she’s stepped into and being completely overwhelmed by it as it becomes painfully clear she’s not cut out for it. She’s not a wolf. Blunt’s got an interesting future ahead of her if she keeps choosing more interesting roles like this and doesn’t fall to the trap of being forever chained to typecasting.
Overall, it’s a very solid movie. The only major flaw that Sicario has is that it doesn’t manage to become greater than the sum of its pieces. You wish it would have been just a tiny bit more exciting, delivered one more excellently orchestrated tactical action sequence and given you slightly more deep character moments with Emily. It’s like having all right ingredients prepared for the recipe, but when you taste the finished meal, though it’s delicious, something is still missing from it but you can’t quite put your finger on what. You just have that inner voice saying it’s not quite right, it still needs a touch of salt, hint of vinegar, something. There was potential for greatness here, but you end up with just a good, entirely entertaining, more intelligent than your average Hollywood movie. Even when it’s slightly disappointing, you do walk away more than content with the time you just spent viewing it.