It was in last year’s Edge of Tomorrow (which is still in my mind horribly underrated) that I learned how tough Emily Blunt can be. In that film, she held her own against one of the biggest stars in the world (Tom Cruise), and seemed to do so with out any struggle.
In Sicario, she stars as FBI agent Kate Macer, who (at the start of the film), comes across the house of bodies due to the war on drugs. She is recruited by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin). It is not entirely clear (at least to me) what branch of government he works for, but it is clear his view on how to stop the drug war: Things must be done off the book, and it is clear with the man he uses named Alejandro (Benecio Del Toro).
While Brolin is good, and Emily Blunt shows she is one tough cookie, it is Del Toro who steals the show. His Alejandro is easily one of the most memorable characters in cinema for the past few years (he reminded me of Anton Chigurgh from No Country for Old Men). While I always knew he was a great, underappreciated actor (he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for 2000’s Traffic), I admit I had forgot about it (he has not had many great films since then, save for 21 Grams). Here he gets a chance to spread his wings again in a performance that is, as teens today might say, sic (pun intended). Here is looking at another Oscar nomination.
The problem with the film I think is the confusion of characters. I admit I had trouble remembering the names of certain characters, and had no idea who some of them even worked for. Still, the film is wonderfully made (the director is Denis Villeneuve, who recently directed Prisoners with Hugh Jackman). It also has stellar cintamatography (which is no surprise when you realize it is 12 time Oscar nominated Roger Deakins who did it).
Parents, High School and above. There is no real sexual scenes (one where a character is about to after a lot of kissing, but then does not go farther than that). The movie gets its R rating from its swearing (which is language any teen would hear sadly these days in school), but the violence is graphic. For those who can handle it, it is one of the gems of 2015.
Overall: Four Stars ****