After an assignment that ends pretty badly, FBI agent Kate (Emily Blunt) is recruited by CIA operative Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) for a joined task force as Kate’s operation brought her in contact with a Mexican drug cartell that Graver has been investigating for years. Together with informant/operative Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), they enter Mexico to hunt down the cartell’s head. But it seems that there is more to the story and Kate finds herself increasingly puzzled.
Sicario seems to be on a mission: to find out how boring you can make a movie about murder, human trafficking and shady governments. They went far in their quest and I can now tell you: it can be very boring indeed.
Sicario managed to get Roger Deakins as cinematographer and he does awesome work. The film is filled with beautiful shots and looks simply wonderful. But it appears that in their enthusiasm about the images, they didn’t notice that they stayed with each shot about twice as long as they should have. Since the editing doesn’t work, the pacing doesn’t work and suddenly you have a film that drags so much, it’s almost an achievement in itself.
But the editing and pacing is not the film’s only problem. I really didn’t get why they would involve Kate so closely in their more than questionable quest. Just because they needed an FBI agent for bureaucratic reasons, doesn’t mean she has to be at the very front of the operation. Better to choose a lackey type and put them in a corner to twiddle their thumbs, no? Since I had such problems with the central premise of the film, the rest also never really came together for me.
And that despite the fact that I can imagine that Sicario is pretty realistic in its depiction of the “war on drugs” in the USA. But realism is no guarantee for a good movie, even if I did appreciate it. As I appreciated that the protagonist was a woman (which is never really an issue). [As I appreciated Benicio Del Toro’s sex appeal, but that just as a sidenote.]
But a film that drags so much; that doesn’t even include one sympathetic latin@ (Alejandro is an asshole, pretty much every other latin@ we see is either a thug or a cowering illegal immigrant), despite being set in Mexico over huge stretches; that has barely any women in it, apart from its kick-ass protagonist; is a film that is frustrating more than anything else.