Monday, 8 February 2016


I've just rewatched that Sicario movie - which has now been released on streaming services.

The title is Latin American for hitman, usually referencing drug cartels. That is supposedly the basic plot line, although there isn't a hitman in the Timothy Oliphant or Rupert Friend style.

This movie is set along the US-Mexican border and we get stunning swooping views of the territory showing its immense scale as well as the menacing cartel run towns with optional laws such as Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.

The crowded movie poster shows the tough-guys (Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro) and the ingenue female cop (played by Emily Blunt). The way things get done is frequently by passive-aggressive bullying of Blunt's character and not telling her what is happening. The guys frequently use their knowledge and swagger to exert power over her character.

Despite the crowded poster, the movie actually breathes with a lot more space. Space between characters, large distances, large gaps in the communications.

The setup, right from the start, shows the never ending brutality of the drug cartels, and role of Brolin and Del Toro is supposed to be to create some chaos and clean up. That creates a slightly episodic journey with several taut set-pieces. Noticeably, it's almost as lawless on the American enforcement side, although some of the captures seem to survive until they get roughed up in later scenes.

There's some perfunctory attempts to paint the bigger picture of the cartels and the amount of drugs entering the USA, but the story revolves mainly around a specific sequence of events and doesn't really explore the broader theme.

There's an interesting pulsing soundtrack too (right from the first second when it almost sounds like its spill sound from another theatre) and the cinematography is quite stunning. This time I watched it on a small screen and already decided it really needs to be seen again on a large screen.


OldLady Of The Hills said...

I almost turned this film off because of the horrific violence and horrible horrible images.....I watched it on a pretty big screen,but, not in a movie theatre type 'big'. I truly hated this film and couldn't find any redeeming values, at all! One more reason it feels like the world is coming to an end. It all seems so incredibly hopeless.

rashbre said...

Hi Naomi I agree there were some horrific parts on the movie.

I suppose I watched the film and thought about some of the questions it raised. The lawlessness of the drug cartels and the apparent US response to covertly behave in a similar manner.

It also showed how the characters were hardened to the whole situation but also how they treated the outsiders (Blunt and her buddy) with a kind of low-key contempt.

The few apparently moralistic speeches towards he end of the film didn't ring very true, so it left an overall impression of the messiness of a terrible and ongoing era.

There's just been that escape and recapture of El Chapo and then the murder of newly elected Mayor Mota, in early January, when she was gunned down outside her house in Temixco.

It doesn't seem to have got any better and I think the movie hinted at the rather incidental nature of the US attempts to manage the situation.

Pat said...

That second still hints the director has some artistic leanings.

rashbre said...

Pat : I think the Director of Photography did a pretty stunning job. American film, but an English cinematographer - Roger Deakins.