During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.
When drug violence worsens on the USA Mexico border, the FBI sends an idealistic agent, Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) on a mission to eradicate a drug cartel responsible for a bomb that had killed members of her team. Written by
The word "Sicario" derives from the Latin word "Sicarius", meaning "dagger man". The term was used by Romans to describe Jewish Zealots who killed Roman citizens using a "sica" or small dagger hidden in their cloaks. It is possible that the second name of Judas Iscariot comes from the same root. There were so many murders in the Providence of Judea around the 1st Century AD that the figure of "Sicarius" was codified in Roman Law (Lex Cornelia de Sicariis et Veneficis - Cornelian Law for Stabbers and Poisoners) of 81 AD. These words also derive from the verb "secare", which means to slice. See more »
The exterior runway scenes set at Luke AFB (which in reality is near Phoenix, Arizona) show the characteristic Sandia Mountain Range in the background (which is in Albuquerque, New Mexico.) See more »
[after interrogating Ted]
You know what the beauty is of you being so beat to a pulp? 'Cause no one's gonna notice a few more scratches.
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"Sicario" describes, with surgical precision, the fatal and bloody desecration of Mexico as a result of its decades long cartel war. And it does so by compressing this almost endless tragedy into a two-hour tour-de-force of filmmaking.
At its center we find idealistic FBI-Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), who is recruited to pursue a Mexican drug-baron. She is being guided by a seemingly untouchable covert assassin named Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). Their investigation and methods are pushed further into unknown territory where justice and morality are no longer valid. The end not only justifies the means, it requires them.
Denis Villeneuve's masterful piece exemplifies not only filmmaking of the highest order, but carves out a place alongside the terrible news reports as a deeply regretful, angry and at times almost unbearable look into the abyss of a socio-political nightmare that is fueled by first world-habit and global economics.
Through the powerful performances by Blunt, Del Toro and Josh Brolin in the leads as well as the excellent supporting cast, do we get a sense of the human cost (physical and psychological), which the war on drugs has taken.
From an exploding prison population, to the destruction of Mexican agriculture, to refugees and a cycle of violence that is beyond barbarity; the pull that "Sicario" exerts over the viewer is undeniable and by skirting the limits of bearable tension, without ever becoming exploitive, it is never giving an inch concerning its subject matter.
Few movies this year will have such a clear and defined structure and unflinching approach towards a situation that appears to be beyond salvation, while showing at the same time, that life nevertheless continues.
Taylor Sheridan's script doesn't miss a single beat and without sidestepping anything frees itself from beaten movie conventions by using familiar elements in an extremely skillful manner.
All these themes, stories and characters are captured through the lens of veteran Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men) who lets us always know how the micro- and macro-particles of any conflict are inextricably intertwined. We share the vistas of beautiful sceneries while having to witness their downfall.
Whatever ideals the likes of Emiliano Zapata once had, their country has now, as it is described in the movie, become the land of wolves".
Fifteen years ago Steven Soderbergh's Traffic" which earned numerous Oscars, not the least of which went to Benicio Del Toro, made a clear statement about the various strands the drug trafficking business touches. Now, all those years later we see in Sicario" that even the faintest of hopes that Traffic" held onto have been eviscerated.
What now? One might ask.
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