Thursday, November 10, 2016

Movie Review: SICARIO

Welcome back to this mini-series of reviews of the feature films* of revered filmmaker Denis Villeneuve in the lead-up to his latest film Arrival. This sixth review in the series is for his film from just last year, Sicario.

Sicario is the seventh feature film by Denis Villeneuve and follows the story of an interagency task force who runs various drug law enforcement ops in an effort to take down cartel leaders in Mexico. The film stars Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal, and Daniel Kaluuya. I personally believe this is an absolute brilliant film that connects a great action film with great filmmaking and interesting ethical questions.

The best thing about Sicario is its technical filmmaking attributes. Villeneuve’s direction, Roger Deakins cinematography, and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score all come together to elevate this film beyond what It may have been in lesser hands. There are so many striking moments in this film that leave an imprint on the mind of the viewers. Shots on disturbing things hold uncomfortably long. The nighttime photography is simply brilliant. The use of tools like night and heat vision to draw people into the action was extremely clever. The tension built by the immaculately designed shots of cars and cities was excellent. The music in the film is chilling. The list can go on ad infinitum. There is no other way to put this than to say that this was a brilliantly made film.

In addition to being brilliantly made, Sicario is a combination of entertaining and disturbing. There is lots of very intense action and a really interesting story. This makes this film highly watchable and enjoyable for audiences. At the same time, it is very gritty, grimy, and disturbing. It challenges moral values of viewers (just as it does with one of the characters) and makes you question how far you would want people to go to combat pure evil. It also presents the story in such a way that you get behind and root for a guy who is ruthless (and potentially pure evil himself). This is an uncomfortable position and the ability of this film to get you into that mental place is really powerful.

The last positive I want to mention is the strength of the performances across the board. Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro are absolute standouts in the film. They deliver power and emotion in their roles that gets you totally invested in the film and without that quality this film wouldn’t be as good as it is. In addition, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal, and Daniel Kaluuya all shine in this film. They add just the right amount of flavor and intrigue into the film and push it forward meaningfully.

I don’t have anything specifically bad to say about this film. On re-watch, some of the elements that I had thought were too out there for the real tone it sets the first time I saw the film didn’t strike me that way anymore. They all really work, especially when you know where this eventually goes. The one problem I think people can, and will, cite with this film is that it is somewhat conventional. Not in its filmmaking or performances, but this is a drug war story that isn’t terribly unfamiliar. For me, a well-executed familiar story can be great, and I think Sicario does that. Some people might not feel the same way.

Overall, I think Sicario is a brilliant film and nails every element to heighten material that might be seen as conventional otherwise. The quality of direction, music, cinematography, and acting all come together to make this film great. A really solid watch and a film I would recommend to everyone.

Ryan’s Score: 9.5/10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

* This series of reviews will include all of Villeneuve’s features except the 2000 film Malestrom due to it being highly difficult to obtain prior to the start of this series.

No comments:

Post a Comment