|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Genre:||Thriller, Drama, Action|
|Production country:||USA 2015|
|Running time:||Approx. 122 min.|
Young FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) knows all the facts about the drug war being fought with extreme brutality on the Arizona-Mexico border. But the idealistic agent is so shocked by the gruesome discovery she makes in the secret hideout of a drug cartel that she doesn't hesitate for long when she is offered to join an international task force to hunt down the masterminds. Along with U.S. agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and Colombian agent Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), she is tasked with escorting a prisoner transfer in the borderlands that turns out to be a bloody ambush. But with Alejandro's help, the mission can still be completed successfully. But now, at the latest, Kate realizes the means by which both sides are fighting and that she will lose this war if she continues to hold on to her moral convictions...
With Sicario, French-Canadian Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) has delivered nothing less than one of the best films of the year. There is hardly an aspect about this film that doesn't work. The story is very suspenseful in itself, but the atmospherically dense production, the score suggesting a constant threat, and the intense imagery intensify this many times over. This is particularly evident in the scene depicting an operation in a tunnel between the US and Mexico. From the moment Kate and her team enter the tunnel until the finale of this sequence, you as a viewer are literally pressed into the cinema seat and almost without noticing it, you claw your way into the seat backs. Such scenes can only unfold this truly intense effect through the perfect interplay of all factors. Since Villeneuve has orchestrated them with magnificent precision, this succeeds several times over the course of the film. This is what perfect suspense cinema looks like.
Another very successful aspect of the production is the depiction of violence. Villeneuve is truly not squeamish about it. However, he does not use brutality in a striking way, but lets it happen almost incidentally. This way it doesn't seem overstylized, but very real - and for that very reason extremely shocking. Good examples of this are the really gruesome find the FBI makes at the beginning of the film, but also the images Kate - and thus also the viewer - is confronted with during her first mission in the border area marked by the drug war. These are images that haunt you long after the film is over, and they contribute considerably to the intense impact of the thriller.
Screenplay, direction, cinematography, music, editing - all these aspects can be as good as they are if the acting performances are not. But Villeneuve has also shown a very good hand in choosing his actors. There is no real weak link here in the strong chain of actors. Those who are supposed to be shady are shady, those who are supposed to come across as sleazy creeps are played that way, and those who are supposed to come across as tough and idealistic give their characters exactly those attributes. Emily Blunt proves once again that she is not only extremely versatile, but that she also knows how to convince in the action genre. But although she really delivers first class acting, it is Benicio Del Toro who leaves the most lasting impression. Crucial to this is a scene towards the end of the film that has to be the most uncompromising thing to be seen in mainstream cinema recently.
Even on the most intense reflection, I just can't think of any real criticism. Josh Brolin's loud gum chewing may be a bit annoying, but it fits his character perfectly. Sicario is simply a great, multi-layered thriller that blurs the lines between good and evil more and more while providing quite a few moments that will define this genre for a long time to come. If there aren't at least a few Oscar nominations for this, then there's just no justice in the drug war shown here, and not only. Absolutely worth seeing!!!!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp