“Sicario” is a realistic interpretation of the drug trade in Mexico as seen through the eyes of a slightly ignorant FBI operative. The film did not arrive with the same pomp as “The Martian” (which opened the same weekend), but it left an equally large impression on the critics. It is dark, gritty, and the only thing more disturbing than the imagery of cadavers hanging in the streets is the idea that the residents of Juarez have accepted this atmosphere as a part of daily life. The story seems a bit overdramatic but a little research shows this portrayal to be chillingly accurate. Moreover, the main reason that Juarez has descended from its rank as the most violent city in the world is because one drug cartel has defeated its rivals. One would hope that the police and military had brought order to the area, but that is simply not the case. Director Denis Villeneuve has made a bold statement about the government corruption and drug violence that rule this area. Most of the critical praise surrounding “Sicario” has involved the acting. Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro turn in impressive performances through subtle but powerful moments. I could see either of them receiving an Oscar nomination but neither performance is good enough to win. Josh Brolin also gives the high-caliber performance that we expect from him. I do feel that the film moves a bit too slow, especially after a riveting opening sequence, but the pace gives you a chance to reflect on the unfortunate circumstance of the area. The film focuses on situational development more than character development so that, in the end, you feel a greater attachment to the story than the characters within. “Sicario” accomplishes its goal of bringing awareness to the drug violence in Mexico through strong acting performances and a story that is so unbelievable that you have to believe it.
[Pictured: Blunt reminds us that she can play any role from "Into the Woods" to FBI agent]