A Gem of a Film, tight action, laconic dialogue and excellent direction, acting and production. An Academy Award Contender!
In the midst of all the terrorist turmoil in the world, I still try to function as a critic of new films that will be judged for an Academy Award this year. So far, I think that SICARIO, written by actor/writer Taylor Sheridan and brilliantly directed by French/Canadian, Denis Villeneuve, deserves consideration for best film, direction and writing of an original screenplay for 2015. I don’t want to give away the storyline because it has some twist and turns that are surprising and compelling both intellectually and dramatically.
SICARIO focuses its attention on the drug cartels working along the Mexican Border. A naïve FBI agent is recruited haphazardly into a unit of SOF/CIA operatives who work ‘illegally’ [or are they really legal?] in and out of Mexico and the USA. The actors, Josh Brolin and Emily Blunt, portray their characters both convincingly with the least amount of effort, thanks to the brilliant directing of Denis Villeneuve. However, the Puerto Rican actor, Benicio Del Toro deserves special mention as the hit man/killer or SICARIO, who works on all sides of the cartel in order to achieve his primary goal which it turns out is in concert with the US interests.
For the first time, a movie reveals the basic truth of how our own people work in concert with the Medellian Colombian Drug Cartel in order to wipe out all other potential competitors wherever they may be –in Mexico or in the USA. The goal of this unholy synergy is the need to maintain control and stability in a war which has no defined beginning or ending. It’s a subtle indictment made by the script/director. Yet in this film, which is sparse in visuals, words and actions; the truth is far more disturbing. The final scene depicts a group of Mexican children playing soccer—then pausing to allow for the necessary routine of gunfire –and then they proceed with their game.
The film ends there.
Another important note is the fact that the actor/writer, Taylor Sheridan, captures the matter-of-fact manners and blasé attitudes of CIA/SOCOM/ SOFs who have seen more horrors of war in both Iraq/Afghanistan than one can imagine. He does not glorify nor condemn them. He merely shows how proficiently they anticipate danger and are able to neutralize it within seconds. I found that part quite real and impressive.
Those SOFs/CIA operatives with whom I have worked with in different parts of the world are pretty much unassuming, regular men who do not glorify nor boast about their actions as we have seen in other movies which involved the SEALS. Most SOFS, in all branches of the service, are quite discreet and professional, saying little and moving onto their different assignments with the mandated alacrity and brevity of words and actions for which they were extensively trained. The Canadian director, Villeneuve, captures those moments exceedingly well.
In the age of blockbusters, it’s a pleasure to see a small film that is saturated with talent, emotion and actions that warrant our watching it… engaging two hours of our time. Congratulations to the group of five producers who took this project on and made it happen through Lionsgate Production Company.
Good luck in the Academy Awards..
I will be rooting for you.. SICARIO!