Film Notes: Sicario (2015) directed by Denis Villeneuve


USA / 121 minutes / color /Lionsgate and Black Label Media present a Thunder Road production/Dir: Denis Villeneuve Pro: Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonell, Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill and Trent Luckinbill Scr: Taylor Sheridan Cine: Roger Deakins Film Editor: Joe Walker Mus: Jóhann Jóhannson Cast: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Victor Garber, Jon Bernthal, Daniel Kaluuya, Jeffrey Donovan, Raoul Trujillo, and Julio Cesar Cedillo Release Date: 15 May 2015 (Cannes Film Festival) 13 November 2015 (Spain) Original title: Sicario Spanish title: Sicario

Sicario_poster Sicario is a 2015 American action thriller film about a principled FBI agent who is enlisted by a government task force to bring down the leader of a powerful and brutal Mexican drug cartel. Sicario was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. (Source: Amazon)

Synopsis: In Mexico, Sicario means hitman. In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent (Emily Blunt) is enlisted by an elite government task force official (Josh Brolin) to aid in the escalating war against drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past (Benicio Del Toro), the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive. (Source: Lionsgate International Production Notes)

Says director Denis Villeneuve, “Sicario takes a powerful look at black-ops operations and the Mexican cartels. But this story is also about America, about the idealism and realism that clash when it comes to dealing with the problems of other countries.”

“It’s a movie about choices,” adds Benicio Del Toro, who dives into one of his most conflicted roles as the equal parts vengeful and tender hit man Alejandro. “It’s tough to say whether any character in Sicario is truly good or bad. Do the means justify the ends? What happens when go into a situation where you want to kill one guy and you kill 20 innocent people? You got the bad guy, but at what cost?”

“Kate is tempted by this world,” says Emily Blunt, who breaks the mold with her portrait of a fierce female character whose life is in jeopardy throughout every second of the film. “She realizes she was barely scratching the surface doing things by the book and now she wants to believe she can do something that will make a real difference. Yet the very idea of no longer following the rules turns Kate’s whole world upside down. Nothing makes sense anymore.”

Josh Brolin, who is known for characters who ply the edges, was intrigued by the movie’s subtext of big questions about values versus security and whether fighting criminals with outlaw behavior darkens hearts beyond repair. “This movie is a human mystery that you get to grab at and put together for yourself,” Brolin says. “It’s a suspenseful and emotional puzzle.” (Source: Lionsgate International Production Notes)

Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve is a four time winner of the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Director. His feature film, Incendies, was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards®, and is considered by the New York Times as one of the 10 best movies of 2011. Villeneuve’s other work includes Enemy and Prisoners, as well as Polytechnique, Next Floor, Maelström, and Un 32 août sur terre. Villeneuve is currently in pre-production on two additional projects Story of Your Life, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker and the Untitled Blade Runner Sequel, starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

Gradually I’m catching up with the latest films I’ve seen. This time is the turn of Sicario, which Begoña and I went to see last week. The story is superbly well shot with great mastery by Denis Villeneuve, a filmmaker that has never disappointed me. The film tackles some current issues which invites us to reflect about which are the boundaries to the use of force that our democratic societies must observe on the fight against those who want to subvert law and order. After all, if we use the same means of those who pretend our destruction, what makes us different? Can we accept that the ends justify the means? And, if the answer is yes, in which cases or within what limits? The acting of most characters, if not from all of them, is extremely credible, highlighting Emily Blunt’s performance, in particular. The music by Icelandic composer Johann Johannson is absolutely brilliant. The original soundtrack is available here.

Press Kit Download (PDF)

Sicario Cannes Review at The Hollywood Reporter

Sicario poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

3 thoughts on “Film Notes: Sicario (2015) directed by Denis Villeneuve

  1. Glad you enjoyed this film, Jose. I too thought Emily Blunt was excellent in this one – she gives a very finely judged performance. I loved the cinematography, especially the aerial shots.

  2. Pingback: Film Notes: 2015 Year in Review | A Crime is Afoot

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