Cine Reviews: ‘Sicario’ (2015)

In ‘Sicario’  an idealistic FBI agent is recruited by a government task force to assist in eradicating a drug lord in the midst of  of a heightening drug war. Getting caught in all this mayhem we find Kate Macer (Blunt) escape amidst all the chaos.

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After the long delay, I finally got the chance to see one my most awaited films of the year. Heading into the theater, I was very excited. Sitting there in my seat, I thought I was prepared, but in all reality I wasn’t. What I assumed to be your plain standard-fare thriller was nowhere to be found, for ‘Sicario’ was everything out of the ordinary. Villeneuve’s latest feature knows how to bark, and it sure knows how to bite. When it does, it leaves a mark that stings even after the credits roll. It straps you in your seat and injects you with adrenaline, giving you a rush of blood to your veins. Once it straps you in, it never lets you go. Even if you’re traumatized of all the visuals presented to you, it ceases to let you loose. That would be how I would describe the experience I had with this film. The opening scene particularly had me shocked and even caused me to jump a little. Henceforth, justifying the fact that I wasn’t ready for all that I witnessed. The build up to the intensity in every other scene was done very well. It sets up a calm and quiet vibe, then it leaves you shaking in your seat. Every other sequence without dialogue is like a ticking bomb in the sense that once it gets all your palms sweaty, it explodes right in your face without remorse.

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The storytelling is not conventional. Denis already proved it with his previous works such as Prisoners and Enemy, and he shoves that right in our face again here in Sicario. Right off the bat, it never tells you anything to reveal the real goods that it truly delivers. All it does is just let you figure out what is really going on. You might think you know how it will all play out, but your jaws might drop and your eyes might pop once the film shows you the truth behind the mysteries it has in its’ hands. To simplify it, guessing how the story will go is pointless, as it is very unpredictable. Even if the movie can deceive you into thinking that you can finally figure it out, once you try to take a guess you might just get disappointed with yourself for guessing so. If I have to give discretion and for this matter I will, you need to watch out for the ending. It just pierces through you like a bullet shot at a rapid fire rate. The violence in the film is gut-wrenching and very exposed. Some of the imagery might sicken viewers, but it does it so relentlessly and in an unapologetic manner. This is done to give justice to its’ dark serious tone and its’ setting, which leaves us isolated in Mexico and lets us see all the grisly incidents happening within.

Sicario locks itself with only three characters, but they are given balanced development to make room for each other. These characters can be deemed enigmatic, and will seriously force you to question their true personality and motives. All of them are like that, and each gain intrigue up until the end. Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, and Josh Brolin give sucker punch-like performances that will hypnotize. If one would perfectly describe Emily Blunt’s characterization of our lead Kate Macer, she is like a fierce little girl who gets lost in a carnival; however, that carnival holds many terrifying surprises that will leave her scarred for the rest of her life and will tend to ask herself critical questions. Take note though, that little girl is ferocious yet she gets horrified only because of one incident.  If you don’t believe me with my description of her character, see the film for yourself. Her innocence to the events might be similar to mine during the entire film’s duration and that “I think I can solve this” feeling Emily Blunt gives to her character makes her affecting. This may sound complex, but bear with me. From my interpretation, I think that Blunt’s Kate Macer is synonymous to that of the viewers because of the fact that she is innocent with everything, just like we are innocent to the entire film’s plot. Speaking of the plot, Benicio Del Toro keeps his cool until he is ready to strike. His character is so shady and will leave you in doubt, which makes you even more thrilled to see the reality behind his character. Benicio’s Alejandro is like a wolf on the prowl, waiting for the perfect time to slay. Benicio Del Toro was ultimately entrancing, and lures you in for something unexpected.

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Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario is the ideal film if you want to get thrilled and stunned all at the the same time. It lets you ride shotgun for a horrific ride that will leave you haunted for nights due to its’ effectively disturbing imagery and dark atmosphere. Taylor Sheridan’s masterful screenplay lets you beg for questions, and always makes you unprepared for what’s about to come with all the surprises it has in its’ sleeves. Viewers need to be wary that Sicario is not for the faint of heart, each moment never fails to shock in awe; leaving viewers impressed and traumatized.

5/5 stars.

‘Sicario’ is still showing in Philippine cinemas nationwide and is rated R-16 by the MTRCB. Distributed by Viewers’ Choice Philippines.

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