“Sicario”, a word stemming from the old Hebrew word for the splinter group of Zealots in 70 CE who opposed the Roman occupation of Judea through combative means, has since taken on a more nefarious meaning. In a modern sense, it refers to the hitmen in the Mexican cartel. That sets the scene for the mystery indie crime drama Sicario (2015) about a tight-laced FBI agent who joins the government task force operating to take out key players in the Mexican drug cartel.
The film sees a multitude of familiar faces like Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow  and Looper ), Benicio del Toro (Snatch  and The Usual Suspects ), and Josh Brolin (W.  and No Country for Old Men ) who play the parts of a hardened crew of American agents who show that the price of peace can be terribly high.
Director Denis Villeneuve has gone festival to festival with his highly-celebrated films like Maelstrom (2000), Incendies (2010), and Prisoners (2013). His latest, Sicario (2015), is no different from the rest of his independent triumphs. It’s just as haunting as his other works and is accentuated by solid performances and grimly serene landscapes of the Southern scape.
Right from the get-go, you’ll notice how quiet the film is – which makes the bombastic scenes come in stark contrast with the rest of the flick. Another thing that’s clear is that this isn’t your instant gratification kind of action movie, it takes more time in dealing with its themes and delves into more realism. One of the biggest conflicts is how Emily Blunt’s character, Kate Macer, struggles with getting the job and doing things by the book. Showing that there are two sides to every story is another play here, shown with local families and how they live in this constant fear.
The emphasis on the scenic shots in transition scenes and a consistent colour palette give the eyes a nice break, making this feel like it was written by Cormac McCarthy at one point. Themes of crime, drama, racism and the grim reality surrounding the cartel wars on the Southern border pervades throughout this film. Corruption is prevalent on both sides of the fight and it’s all taken in through the eyes of Kate, the new recruit, which gives the audience a fresh perspective on it as well. Her faith in the system being tested mirrors our reaction when we see the increasing insidious tactics employed to stem the onslaught of this crime world.
The ending twists at your heart, though I suppose it could not have ended any differently. Any fan of the intense crime film should give this a watch, especially if you’re a fan of Villeneuve’s other work Prisoners (2013).