This movie was hyped throughout the year through all quarters, I noted that third wave feminists also kept yapping about Emily Blunt having the lead role. That slightly worried me of a good premise being ruined by another episode of manifest propaganda… which if it was good, like I often do, I would’ve tolerated! Turns out that Sicario is both a good movie and isn’t built entirely around some female super cop like certain people were hoping (ergo we get a story focused feature instead of an agenda focused one). And it’s also brought to us from the director of the supremely manly Prisoners.
We ride shotgun with Uncle Sam, as an ad-hoc task force is created to deal with an escalation in a war with the Cartel that was hitherto of low intensity, they upped their game to booby trap North American safe houses, see. Bad idea. In order to retaliate, Josh Brolin (an actor I really like) will lead his crew across the border to capture Guillermo, the brother head of the snake, kingpin Manuel Diaz. Among his crew is the insoluble Benicio del Toro and booby trap surviving FBI chick Emily Blunt. Each brings their own set of tools to the mission, or so we think.
I enjoyed this movie the second time around more than the initial viewing I had of it, slightly more. Denis Villeneuve sure knows how to create tension on screen, be it through visceral action sequences or simmering tension between characters not on the same page brought to life by actors on their A-games. Some from the left may have critisized the ‘weak’ female lead, some of the right may have been annoyed by a perceived slant on the treatment of migrants, but the truth is that both are wrong and Denis Villeneuve simply calls it down the middle. Sicario is real life. And while the film may lose narrative traction somewhat in the second act, the finale sends us home happy. Brutal and unflinching.
The Blu Ray release is of course something you’re going to want to pick up. The high-definition 2.40:1 MPEG-4 AVC transfer is often stunning, not least by Denis Villeneuve’s beautiful cinematography. Dolby TrueHD 7.1 is here, for those who have it, but I suspect they are in a minority. Key scenes in Sicario are also quite dark so it is here that the hefty 1080p transfer really helps out, clarity is good, hidden depths in the dead of night can be appreciated. There are around 40 minutes of extra; Stepping into Darkness – The Visual Design of Sicario, Blunt, Brolin & Benecio – Portraying the Characters of Sicario, Battle Zone – The Origins of Sicario and A Pulse from the Desert – The Score of Sicario. These are standard fare featurettes, not massively interesting but welcome additions.
I look forward to seeing more from Denis Villeneuve and even the currently rumoured Benicio del Toro-led sequel doesn’t sound too bad to me. Sicario on Blu-Ray is a winner.