‘Sicario’ is intense, let’s make that clear. It is a thriller that will leave your heart reeling and your mind palpitating for hours after it has finished. But what a pleasant surprise it is, coming seemingly out of nowhere amongst a slew of higher profile releases, and acting as further proof that ‘Prisoners’ director, Denis Villeneuve, should not be underestimated.
Villeneuve gathers an outstanding cast, hurls them into a conflict that is portrayed with an unwavering sense of foreboding and moral ambiguity and sets it all to one of the most suspenseful scores in recent memory.
The basic premise of ‘Sicario’ follows Emily Blunt’s character, Kate, an FBI agent who is recruited by a questionable government operative (Josh Brolin) and a former hitman (Benicio Del Toro) to track down one of Mexico’s most high profile drug lords.
Blunt and Brolin are both excellent but it is Del Toro who is exceptional, emanating an air of dubious loyalty with every breath, stare and scant line of dialogue he utters, until he essentially steals the entire climax of the film in a character-driven third act that makes every nuance of his acting in the first two thirds of the film twice as impressive.
But rivalling him as the show stealer are cinematographer, Roger Deakins, and composer, Jóhann Jóhannsson, who are best known for ‘Skyfall’ and ‘The Theory of Everything’ respectively.
Deakins’ dark, delicate camera work marries seamlessly with Jóhannsson’s creeping, subtle soundtrack; neither are grandiose at any point, instead polishing Villeneuve’s film with a layer of intensity that it would falter without.
‘Sicario’ is the most finely-tuned film of 2015 so far, every aspect of its creation working together without any excess to craft a tale of suspense, a commentary on the ideals of trust, truth and morality.
This one shouldn’t be missed.