The Good...
  • Great cast through and through
  • High tension in many scenes with perfect depiction of gorge-less violence
  • Stunning visuals and amazing soundtrack
The Bad....
  • Script does not really exploit new elements of the war on drugs
  • Would have wished for a stronger female character
4.0Overall Score

Since we all know that Winter is Coming, we might as well make the best out of it and jump into the fall movie season – what was Gone Girl for me last year is Sicario this year: kickoff into the award season. The dazzling trailer did not undersell its promise, the movie basically gets to business right away with a highly intense and shockingly violent opener. It sets the right tone for the next 121 minutes – a gritty and dark look into the brutal war against drugs on the border to Mexico.


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From an “architectural” point of view this movie was a perfect construct for which it deserves a lot of praise. The cinematography of Roger Deakins who brought us the beauty of Skyfall and No Country For Old Men – just to name few – is second to none; the shots conveyed the entire mood of the movie in the most visually stunning way. There are amazing sunset shots as well as areal shots and most importantly amazing action set pieces. In addition to that the mood is not only carried by the stunning visuals but also by an awesome soundtrack which deserves probably just as much credit; it delivers fear, suspense and drama in the exact right moments – with thematic deeply “fear-inducing” tone. With regards to pacing and atmosphere Denis Villeneuve also perfectly hits the spot. At almost all points in the movie, you are tense and in expectation of something really bad bound to happen in the very next moment – and sometimes your hunch is right. Speaking of bad things happening on screen, Villeneuve shows that it is possible to scare and shock the audience without actually depicting violence – but instead leaving it up to the audience’s imagination. From a story perspective, I felt the movie does not really exploit a new angle of the war on drugs; to get ahead of the game in a war with no winners, the US has to make frienemies and apply highly questionable tactics. Nevertheless, I liked the concept of a heroine who gets into the war on drugs which is fought dirty and in which there is no looking back. What I did not like was that the movie had no shockingly good twist – lots of suspenseful situations did not end up adding to holistically suspenseful drug thriller (at least for me).

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Having said, the actors in this thriller are all perfectly casted. Josh Brolin acting of the cocky and secretive drug enforcement operative was spot on. The main cast is divided between Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro – and here is my first big complaint about the way the characters are cut out. The character of Emily Blunt is introduced to us in an almost similar way as Edge of Tomorrow (in which she was awesome): a tough as nails heroine with some personal issues. Understandably the script has her run into some obstacles and her vulnerability fits into the story quite well at points, however I wish that displaying her as this tough cop would have translated into her character showing more strength in critical situations of the film – she is basically always the weak link and needs to be rescued or is just overtalked. And quite frankly, that really annoyed me – I wanted her to be strong and wanted her character to be total badass. But in the end, Benicio del Toro completely steals her limelight, he is the strong character who will be “remembered” when looking back at Sicario. Despite playing the character he always plays, his performance is just totally badass and awesome.

So ultimately, Sicario certainly was a visually stunning and highly intense cinematic adventure with some great acting – but from a story perspective the plot just lacks that element of surprise which I would have liked to see. Nevertheless, it is totally worth watching and you should see the stunning visuals in the theater if you get a chance.

  • sicario_ver12_xlgRunning time: 121 min
  • Genre: Crime, Thriller
  • Year: 2015


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