Sicario (1 & 2)

The border is just another line to cross
The border is just another line to cross
D: Denis Villeneuve
Lionsgate/Black Label/Thunder Road (Basil Iwanyk, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill, Edward McDonnell & Molly Smith)
US 2015
121 mins 


W: Taylor Sheridan
DP: Roger Deakins
Ed: Joe Walker
Mus: Jóhan Jóhannsson

Emily Blunt (Kate Macer), Josh Brolin (Matt Graver), Benicio del Toro(Alejandro Gillick), Victor Garber (Dave Jennings), Daniel Kaluuya (Reggie Wayne)

Sicario, which translates loosely as hitman, is a 2015 thriller which will draw comparisons with 2000's Traffic. Both feature the war on drug trafficking, both take place on both sides of the US-Mexico border and both films also star Benicio del Toro. That is where the comparisons end.
Emily Blunt plays an idealistic FBI rookie who joins a crack team headed by shady CIA agent Josh Brolin. Their mission is to investigate drug cartels between Juarez, Mexico and the state of New Mexico, but the legality of their practices are blurred and justice plays second fiddle to motives of revenge, as mysterious gun-for-hire Alejandro (Benicio del Toro) has his own reasons for involvement in the operation.
Bolstered by realistic, no holds barred direction, Sicario is a brutal look at the American war on drugs, featuring just as many immoral characters as those with noble sensibilities. Emily Blunt gives a strong performance in the lead, but it's Benicio del Toro who steals the show with a performance of little words and silent menace. Roger Deakins also deserves a mention for his atmospheric photography, which perfectly captures both the beautiful and barbaric vistas on either side of the borders.


No rules this time
No rules this time


D: Stefano Sollima

Columbia/Lionsgate/Black Label Media (Basil Iwanyk, Edward L. McDonnell, Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill & Trent Luckinbill)

US 2018

122 mins


W: Taylor Sheridan

DP: Dariusz Wolski

Ed: Matthew Newman

Mus: Hildur Gudnadóttir

Benicio Del Toro (Alejandro Gillick), Josh Brolin (Matt Graver), Isabela Moner (Isabela Reyes), Jeffrey Donovan (Steve Forsing), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Gallo), Catherine Keener (Cynthia Foards), Matthew Modine (Secretary of Defence James Riley)

For me, Sicario was amongst the best films of 2015, and although a sequel wasn't necessary, plans for a third part to a trilogy are very much in the works.

The set up is still the same, focusing on Mexican drug cartels operating close to the US border, but this sequel also includes the addition of Islamic terrorism, with the plot focusing on the possibility that daesh suicide bombers are smuggling into the United States via Mexico. Government agent Matt Graver (Brolin) and hitman Alejandro Gillick (Del Toro) are tasked to go into the hostile territory to manipulate a war between rival cartels, the theory being that one large cartel would be easier to control than several smaller ones.

This thriller may take a right-leaning stance, mixing together a collection of Donald Trump's worst nightmares, but politics aside, it had plenty of action, suspense and tension to keep you on the edge of your seat. The plot does miss Emily Blunt's character as the neutral bystander amongst all the chaos, and though the director and his crew try to emulate the visuals of the original film, it isn't quite as polished in the overall look and the pacing at times can be rather slow, as multiple story threads become intertwined.

Aside from a ridiculously needless moment in the final act, this isn't a bad sequel at all, although it could easily have been made as a standalone film with no connection at all to the original movie. For me, it rubber-stamps Taylor Sheridan as one of the best screenwriters working in Hollywood in current times.


Benicio Del Toro in Sicario 2: Soldado
Benicio Del Toro in Sicario 2: Soldado